Monday, July 19, 2010

Not Very Flattering - Among the government's 12 worst

Coming in at number 10, the Navy Personnel Command's website www.npc.navy.mil is among the 12 worst government websites, as selected by INFORMATION WEEK. As a member of the Information Dominance Corps, I find this both appalling and somewhat embarrassing. In an organization that says "People are our number 1 priority" and "we are the most dominant information force in the U.S. military", this site does not reflect either of those statements.

We owe our Sailors more. I hope this is not a contractor-maintained website.

From over at the SCOOPDECK, this post is described as a cyber-attack.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope this site is not contractor maintained either.

Anonymous said...

"The Navy Personnel Command's site is not one of the worst offenders on this list, except for its poor use of white space. Eyes are immediately drawn to exclusion of the rest of the site to the white space around the Latest News link, and that's not a good thing."

This is what Information Week said about the post. OK - the graphics aren't that great, but I use the site on a regular basis and find it useful - though the IDC detailer pages could use a more frequent refresh. I think the worst list is pretty harsh - and unjustified - based on my experience

Anonymous said...

The fault in the NPC website that makes it a "bad user experience" is not the layout or presentation, it is the fact that many of the links, documents, and pages have not been updated in months and/or years. This is only the fault of the officers and chiefs who are responsible for the various programs and communities and, it follows, ensuring accurate and current information is posted.

It turning out to be another version of the Collaboration-at-sea fiasco replete with outdated and incomplete fleet websites. This is nothing short of a clarion call for IM and KM to be taken more seriously.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Maintaining a quality website is a tough job and requires considerable OWNERSHIP. Unfortunately, many areas of the NPC lack that OWNERSHIP. Data is years out of date in some cases. Other areas have simply "gone to seed" from lack of maintenance.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame CAS, blame the owners of those sites.

If you want to see horrendous, go to the IW NKO site. Not only is it poorly organized, the information is extremely dated. Pretty sorry for a group that calls itself Information Dominance.

BL: New software makes website maintenance easy (i.e. Sharepoint). But the owners of those sites need to take the time to keep them current and useful.

IWO-JOe said...

Re: The IW NKO page.

I still don't know why we are "self-synchronizing" on an unprotected Facebook group with public member lists when we could use a password-protected resource on NKO to which we all have access. Yes, I realize that social media is all the rage from the CJCS down to Seaman Timmy, but let's use a little more OPSEC and keep sensitive-but-unclassified on appropriate channels.

Likewise, the biggest failure with the NPC website isn't old content or unappealing layout. It's the gross failure to protect information that the general public (at home and *ahem* abroad) doesn't have a need to know. Let's start thinking more like Information Warriors and less like teenage girls (no offense to any privacy-aware teenagers out there).

Anonymous said...

Bad website, especially for deployed personnel such a myself. In order to update my record I am going to have to use snail-mail! Help desk staff is not very good either.

As per previous discussion and my own observations, officers and chiefs don't maintain because;

1. They don't know how. A shame considering where we are with technology. (most don't know MS products very well either! However, navfit-98, now that is a stellar product!)

2. They are too busy taking online courses in human trafficking at an even worse site, NKO!

3. Users get frustrated while waiting for their NMCI seat to load all of the crazy security programs.

4. Users have to go back and find one of their 19 different user names and passwords to access/modify the system AFTER logging in with their CAC and pin!

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

IWO JOe

The IDC Self Synchronization serves to meet the needs of the broader IDC than NKO does. The NKO "concept" (AKO, DKO, JKO included) was great. Implementation of the CNO's vision wasn't achieved in the way ADM Clark wanted. Not sure where that responsibility rests. IDC Self Synchronization has more than 1000 participants and appears to fill the information void a bit better than NKO because it 'self synchronizes'. Information is exchanged more freely. Not sure what the OPSEC risks are in 'self-synchronization' but I am certain that if they are serious, Navy will step in and make those risks known.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the Facebook IDC self-synch isn't officially ensorsed / supported by the Navy. At least that's the word I've gotten from staff within the OPNAV N2/N6 front office. If true, it's a significant expectation for the site to be monitored for OPSEC concerns, along with every other Navy-related site that offers current information / updates.

Suspect there are readers of your page who are intimate with the IDC self-synch site, so I ask them to set the record straight concerning Navy endorsement / support.

18XX Officer said...

Just look at the IW pages. Virtually (no pun intended) all of the information is out of date. Seems like the information "dominates" us, not the other way around.

Who maintains these pages?? Fire them and start over.

Anonymous said...

18xx,

Your right. Two of three links are broken. info is wrong/out of date by a year and terms are outdated.

Anonymous said...

what is 18XX?

NavyInfoPro said...

To discuss the original article, and then some of the comments, here are my observations and recommendations:

The community areas are organized okay, but usually out of date or duplicate basic information from NKO, which is also normally out of date. To this extent, it is the content owners, not the website administrators/webmasters/etc who are to blame.

It's not fully integrated with BOL (just share a common login) and does not provide a holistic and authoritative personnel management approach with NSIPS, R-Admin, NAVFIT, or take your pick database. Scanning paper documents and displaying a pdf service record is not a true "electronic" service record, not will it provide the analytical and real-time accurate information we need. The quick review I had of the Air Force's system was very comprehensive, that even includes a full ribbon and medal display (with devices) that a member is authorized to wear instead of keeping track (poorly) of just achievement medals and above like we do in the Navy. We need an authoritative and comprehensive personnel management system with an single intuitive interface to track every qualification, ribbon/certificate/medal, military school, civilian certifications and Journeymen status, leave taken, deployments made, Eva;/Fitrp, unit history, language proficiency, and everything we would ever track for a service member. Right now we have a hodge-podge of systems that at best duplicate, and at worst contradict each other, and with some gaps in between.

The service and information areas of the NPC website are a little confusing and not well organized. My recommendation would be to organize based on functional areas instead of a large flat maze of links.

A question I have, is do we have any IDC (primarily IP's since it falls in that functional area) managing or overseeing the website and the underlining databases with a means of user feedback from the general Navy?

OPSEC should be considered too, and if the Navy had a unified Knowledge Management vision, the NPC site (other than a front end) would be behind NKO to begin with. Unfortunately, NKO is an even worse user experience and most of the Navy has forsaken it with the exception of required CBT's.

The IDC Self Synchronization is meant to be an unofficial collaboration tool among IDC members to share ideas and complaints (with solutions hopefully) as we try to solve our own problems and to give us a voice in the transformation process to allow our senior leadership to take a pulse on what our interests, priorities and recommendations are. It's not an official forum, although we have seen senior leadership display displeasure when we have made comments or suggestions they didn't like. Going back to a unified KM plan and integrating an aligned strategic communications plan, then the senior leadership could (in addition to fixing NKO and integrating all official and social networking functions) could form an official Facebook group or page to disseminate official information and views that may be of interest that wouldn't risk OPSEC.

For the last question, an 18XX is the new set of designators that comprise the IDC, bringing together the IP's, IW's, Intel and METOC Officer designations under a new series.

These are of course just my 2 cents...and worth probably less.

NavyInfoPro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thank to NavyInfoPro for confirming that IDC Self-Synch is unofficial. There have been posts there, in the past, that made me wince to think that they were Navy-endorsed statements.

Although sharing ideas should never be discouraged, it sounds as if NavyInfoPro has significant senior staff experience and can understand that collaboration on a social networking site is not the way things will get done. There are chains of command and review / staffing processes that are in place and should be made to work. That is where the voices belong.

From what I've observed, IDC Self-Synch is satsifying the orginator's desire to disseminate official information. To take it to the next level of an official Facebook group or page is a bridge too far now, and possibly in the future.

I suggest you consider your experiencess at senior commands when sensitive / significant issues are being coordinated. You have to appreciate the need for the leaders to rely on their staffs to get to the heart of the matter with sound recommendations. There's no time to wade through a lot of opinions that are posted on a social networking page.

Even if the Facebook inputs are from respected members of the IDC, there's more credibility when they are included in formal a process that has been appropriately staffed.

Call me old-fashioned and/or out-of touch, but there are processes that work and the informal collaboration stuff breaks down command and control.

I feel CFFC's Serial 002 is germane: http://www.public.navy.mil/usff/Documents/serial_002_%20Command_and_%20Control_v4.pdf.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

ANONYMOUS 8:00PM

I think the main idea behind the self-synchronization effort was to share information as widely as possible across the Information Warfare community (initially). There was a persistent complaint that information wasn't making it out to the community membership. So, pockets of officers across the community started sharing mailing lists to get the various IW messages out. I don't think it interferes with command and control (C2) at all. I don't think the leadership spends (or wastes) any time at all looking for consensus across the various social networks. Many senior leaders participate in the IDC self-synchronization process. I get requests constantly from all officer paygrades in the IW community asking to be added to my IW distribution which is not affiliated with the IDC synchronization effort. People want to be in the loop as best they can.

Anonymous said...

Again, I think the Facebook page is serving its intended use of providing information. With so many sources available, it's much better to have information pushed to the users instead of expecting them to know where (and when) to look for it...AR