Jumper: Breaking "titanium stovepipes" key to DoD success

Tuesday - 3/15/2011, 5:46pm EDT

General John Jumper

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Managing information and data flow is almost as important today as managing the people handling that flow. And General John Jumper, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, has lived that life, and talked to me on In Depth today about his command and leadership experience at the convergence of people, data, and ideas.

"You bump up against what I call titanium stovepipes," General Jumper observed. "Ownership becomes more of an issue than integration. You go to the communities that own pieces of information that you really need to integrate...and you find out you run up against a protective society that doesn't want to release that information."

That ownership challenge lies with the people, not with the technology.

"The technology is there for us to be able to share seamlessly across stovepipes," General Jumper told me, "but a lot of times you're dealing with bureaucracies that are not so willing to give [information] up, and that impacts the availability of information down through the system."

General Jumper and I also talked about managing and leading in tough times; reshaping budgets - and expectation - in the current financial situation; the response to surprise disasters like the ones in Japan; and much more.