In a successful transformation, the organization should see a significant boost to how employees, leaders, suppliers, and partners interact and produce results. While it could technically also apply to small organizations, the term Digital Transformation is usually used in relation to governments, global companies, utilities, municipalities, and other multi-dimensional entities because the size and scope of their systems and processes impact how every party it touches will need to engage with it.

Digital Transformation is a priority in many industries, and one of the largest organizations in the world engaged in it today is the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Its digital transformation initiative encompasses wholly integrated networks, interoperability, and advanced hardware throughout its organization as well as distinct programs that address the more specific uses, objectives, and challenges specific to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, and the defense and intelligence services. Each organization addresses unique threats, adversaries, and mission requirements, but would benefit from digital upgrades that provide, for example:

  • Secure critical infrastructures
  • Operational cloud computing
  • Adaptable and anti-jamming C4ISR systems 
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) -driven sensors and data systems
  • Field-adaptable mobile devices
  • A sustainable, upgradable digital domain

Although it includes IT modernization, Digital Transformation is not only about technology. To the DoD, it’s about the strategic advantages and mission readiness that a technology provides. Technologies change, but the need to act with speed and assurance to control battlefield environments is continuous. The DoD’s approach to Digital Transformation calls for a more secure, coordinated, cost effective, seamless, and transparent IT architecture that transforms data into actionable information and ensures dependable mission execution despite persistent cyber threats. They are currently addressing this through the following four strategic modernization initiatives:

  • Innovative technologies for competitive advantage
  • Optimizing systems for efficiencies and improved capability
  • Evolving cybersecurity for an agile and resilient defense posture
  • Cultivating talent for a ready digital workforce

Although it recruits for internal Digital Transformation talent, the DoD also engages trusted defense community partners to provide forward-thinking technical innovation, advanced systems engineering, and worldwide resources that can augment or replace existing DoD resources. Smart, agile defense partners drive design for transformation today, but with future upgradability, sustainability, and technological convergence in mind at every step. When a defense partner has a proven record of new technology development for a range of U.S. DoD groups – Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Army Research Laboratory (ARL), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), and Office of Naval Research (ONR), for example – they are likely to be a smart choice. Some areas where outside partners may be the best choice specifically for accelerating Digital Transformation include:

  • In-depth cyber Resilience Implementation and R&D
  • Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data
  • Cloud computing design, implementation, and maintenance
  • C4ISR mission systems
  • Convergence design and implementation

Many other key considerations go into an effective Digital Transformation plan, but organizations that pursue the steps above go a long way towards a more effective, efficient, secure, and strategically advantageous digital environment.


This information page is provided as a service to our readers by BAE Systems, Inc., a U.S.-based world leader in aerospace, defense, power, and intelligence solutions. Learn more about us here.

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