Blog: Online Show Daily: DISA Mission Partner Conference

May 9, 2012
By Rita Boland
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Data, data and more data is on the way, Mark Hurd, the president of Oracle Corporation, said during the 2012 Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference today. In 2011, 1.8 zettabytes of data existed and by 2020 that number will skyrocket to 35 zettabytes. Data will grow at faster rates than ever, increasing by 20 times from now to 2020. "There will be more data for you," Hurd stated, explaining that the fact is both the bad news and the best news. Smartphones and social networking are two trends contributing in big ways to the information explosion, and the tools are in the hands of sophisticated users. "I've been trained for years to expect crummy service," Hurd said, but younger users have totally different expectations, demanding immediate connections in all times in all places. The solution lies in the cloud, which can provide that ubiquitous, fast flow of information. Through the cloud, technology companies can offer clients new levels of service, Hurd explained. He also shared that the need for data center consolidation is on the rise. Cloud computing has been a hot topic throughout the conference. Lowell C. McAdam, chairman and chief executive officer, Verizon, also spoke on the subject, stating that projections call for 10 percent of the digital universe to reside in a cloud by 2015. He called the technology a key piece of the future computing paradigm. The others are intelligence, networks and smart devices. One of the few presentations to break the cloud trend was the U.S. Defense Department chief information officer (CIO) panel. During that discussion, representatives from each branch of the U.S. military explained their plans, priorities and organizations, moderated by the department's overall CIO, Teri Takai. Lt. Gen. Michael Basla, USAF, vice commander of Air Force Space Command, explained that his top three priorities in cyberspace are proactive defense, defensive countermeasure operations and cyberspace situational awareness. Rear Adm. Diane Webber, USN, director, communications and networks division, U.S. Navy, shared that the Navy has plans to further consolidate its information technology efforts while overcoming its largest hurdles-discipline and culture. She said that though no one would build a ship or submarine by sticking a porthole anywhere, that is the way the military treats its networks. Terry Halvorsen, CIO of the Navy, added to the discussion by stating that more emphasis has to be placed on spending money to support the warfighter, while on the business side more effort should be directed to sharing with partners and standardizing. Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally, USMC, director, C-4/CIO, U.S. Marine Corps, echoed Halvorsen, saying that networks should be built to support the warfighter with a focus on strategy to define the network. He also believes that understanding each service's ethos is important for the defense CIO. In addition, the panel discussed the difficulties with cybersecurity and how to validate information assurance spending. Michael Krieger, the deputy CIO/G-6 of the Army, said it is a struggle to show the value of investments in information assurance. Training was another hot issue as the services work to provide their troops with the right education. Halvorsen borrowed from the "every Marine is a rifleman" mantra to say that "Today, we're all cybermen. That's everybody. [Cyber] is just another warfare environment, but it's a little more pervasive in that everyone has to go there." Gen. Basla said that all airmen must be cyberwarriors. A new weapons instructors course has been instituted by the Air Force to create the best fighters in cyberspace. Krieger revealed that the Army's Network Integration Evaluations will add cybermetrics in the future to look at cyber equipment and risk from the operational side. During the conference's forecast to industry event, various speakers shared upcoming business opportunities and programs within DISA. The agency now has a limited-use policy for employing wireless mobility within its physical home at Fort Meade. In terms of spectrum, both the military and industry need to find ways to access more, determining the way forward collectively. New programs include developing a successor to the Direct Connect Online, using a similar set of capabilities, and an effort to provide an enterprisewide content management and records management system for defense users. DISA also is embracing social media, using its Facebook page to seek input from industry on its Global Network Services contract. Various presentations from throughout the conference, including the forecast to industry, are available on DISA's briefing slides Web page.  

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