The Navy’s IT challenges

15 Dec 2023
2 mins

Can’t stop thinking about one line from the recent Paul Well’s interview with Vice Admiral Angus Topshee, the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.

PW: Is the fact that this video’s on YouTube a reflection of any difficulty you’re having getting heard internally?

AT: No. I’ve shared my assessments with the leadership of the Department, up to and including this minister and the previous Minister. I feel I’m being heard and respected. This was more about, we wanted to put the message out internally. Unfortunately, there’s some very specific IT challenges around how we disseminate internal messages. And so [Youtube] was the channel we used.

Specific IT challenges, eh?

I guess most of the people skim through this line. Whatever, it’s just a pretext. But for me it sounds bizarrely specific. So, here some of my musings about it.

Those problems with internal communications. It got me curious, how really it’s even done in the military. “Army-wide” emails? Slack, Zoom, Teams? IRC? The answer is all of these. Total chaos. I especially like the comment mentioning using Facebook Messenger, because, c’mon! At least, no WeChat. I hope. I also hope they have less problems accessing their Top Secret Network stuff, not like our ministers [page 27].

While we already established that, in fact, it’s way easier to just publicly share YouTube video than send a file or a private link, I highly doubt it was the main reason. Thus, I wonder, why IT was selected as a pretext. Why. Is it something on admiral’s mind? Or is it a common “enemy” that always gets blamed and everyone nods understandingly? Is IT a dog that ate the homework in government offices? 🙄

Yeah, I’m back. Kinda. No promises.

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