Transitioning USTransCom’s entire architecture to SOA will take years and is expected to involve multiple phases of deployment. What gives Basla confidence are the many commercial solutions available to help USTransCom meet its goals, in addition to the wealth of knowledge available in the corporate sector.
USTransCom regularly consults with domain experts from companies such as Wal-Mart and FedEx to help improve its own supply-chain operations. Still other companies see business opportunities in working with DoD; they, too, play a role in helping to modernize USTransCom’s infrastructure.
At the same time, Basla is careful not to put all of his eggs in one basket. “SOA is the solution du jour,” he says, noting that it can also have its pitfalls. In the time it takes to implement USTransCom’s plans, the IT marketplace might change and new, alternative solutions could arise. But Basla is confident that SOA is an important next step in the slow, ongoing process of reinventing IT at USTransCom.
“The truth of the matter is, what’s cutting edge in the government is not cutting edge in industry,” Basla says, pointing to the size and complexity of government IT infrastructure and how difficult it is to recapitalize — not to mention how long it takes to deploy new solutions. “We don’t move as fast as we would like to. And that’s why we need to reduce the complexity — so that we can be more agile.”