The Department of Defense (DoD) is reshaping how it engages with the military workforce in the consumption and delivery of technology and information technology (IT), a top-level DoD tech official said this week.

The DoD’s Digital Modernization Strategy is the department’s cornerstone for advancing the digital environment to afford the Joint Force a competitive advantage in the modern battlespace. The approach: to increase technological capabilities across the department and strengthen the overall adoption of enterprise systems to expand the competitive space in the digital arena.

“We need to engage and reshape how we talk about technology,” said Danielle Metz, chief IT strategist for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, during a GovExec virtual event on Sept. 13. “[Technology] is the critical enabler to everything that the department does for successful mission execution.”

To get to that goal, however, Metz explained there needs to be a mindset shift in how leaders and the workforce understand technology and IT. Historically, Metz said, technology has been seen as hardware.

But that needs to change so that DoD leaders understand and appreciate “the importance of technology that drives everything that we do in the department,” Metz said. “My team and I are very much focused on having that type of conversation and shifting the leadership mindset.”

In addition, DoD leaders are working to understand how to deliver a modern IT environment that is reliable, improves user experience, and helps DoD to better execute its mission.

“We need to be able to ensure that we have a modern, reliable way of delivering information when it is needed to ensure that we can have a workforce that can be productive, empowered, and capable of executing the mission that they have been asked to do,” Metz explained.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.