Monday, November 19, 2007


I received a forwarded email from a colleague entitled "DoD seeks net-centricity help." I found a copy here. It seems from this article, at least, that they do in fact have a problem articulating their message. I also suspect they aren't talking to the right...vendors. Mr. Montemarano is sparse on specifics and fails to bound the problem. I know it's just a syndicated news article, but it's the message I received. (Ironic, isn't it?) What do you want me to consider? He says he wants vendors to offer pub/sub. Ok, great. Done. But, what about security? Presumably that is important to DoD. What about the Army's mobile, ad-hoc requirements for FCS? Net-centricity is a broad concept. Some argue that it also frames the problem in terms of technology and not people. There is certainly something to that. As a career student of computer-supportive cooperative work (CSCW) and human-computer interaction (HCI), I usually defend that position. (Consider the case here, where news with the wrong message has been successfully syndicated to a wide audience. Tech did it's job.) But sometimes it is just about the technology and I think that is the case with DoD net-centricity in the way I infer here. I would agree that vendors are not implementing what Mr. Montemarano seems to need. DARPA invented the Internet. It was an amazing technical feat. Communication-wise it was about as complicated as "Hi." But DARPA must have become a one-hit wonder in the telecom domain. What Mr. Montemarano wants is Web 2.0. And he can have it. Want is not happening is that no one is seriously considering how to get Web 2.0 done in what are rigidly constrained environments inside DoD. And O' Reilly's original essay on Web 2.0 isn't without flaws. "Wisdom of Crowds" can also lead to "Group Think" and gross disinformation. Mr. Montemarano, my name is Kevin Curry. I work for a company called Bridgeborn. We have offices in Virginia Beach, VA, Arlington, VA, and Savannah, GA. Give me a call.

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