The Joint Information Environment (JIE) is well on its way to becoming a pervasive reality for the U.S. Armed Services and its coalition partners. The version at U.S. European Command reached initial operational capability on July 31, and the Army now has 1.5 million users on enterprise email, a key service under the environment.
Today at TechNet Augusta, Lt. Gen. Mark S. Bowman, J6 of the Joint Staff, said that the JIE is necessary because of real problems that exist in current environments. The foundation of the new capability is a single security architecture. Though the effort began as a measure to increase efficiencies, the military now realizes it offers much more, the general explained. Over time, the various services, commands and agencies created their own information technology. “That didn’t help us a ton on the battlefield,” Gen. Bowman said. The JIE will provide a unified enterprise for everyone, including mission partners.
Industry will be essential to ensuring that evolving capabilities are integrated as appropriate. “There’s no single answer,” Gen. Bowman explained. “The JIE is not static.” It also is far-reaching, intended for use at all echelons in all operating environments. Gen. Bowman said everyone will join the new plan, though not in the same way. He compared the JIE services to a menu. Users eventually will have all the items, but not at the same time or in the same order. Earlier this month, the Defense Department Chief Information Officer Teri Takai directed that all department members will migrate to enterprise email. Organizations must submit plans within 120 days.
Gen. Bowman said personnel resistant to the change should realize enterprise email capabilities are equal to or better than what they have now. Enterprise services include the email along with SharePoint, thin client, telephony to voice over Internet protocol, action tracking system and security and encryption. The general called thin client absolutely critical. Military communications leaders scrapped the original plans for action tracking and went to an off-the-shelf alternative, resulting in significant savings. Gen. Bowman again mentioned the importance of industry, stating the huge opportunities available through the private sector. Companies are as interested in cybersecurity as the military is. He continued that if a capability is good enough for the military to buy, personnel should use it right out of the box. If modifications add more than 10 percent to the cost, then another solution is indicated.
The Defense Department has created a JIE scorecard that lists the various enterprise services and shows where each military branch, the National Security Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Coast Guard are in their implementation of the different items. Demonstrating the recognition of how important the network and cyber are across all Army operations, the Network Integration Evaluation will combine with the exercise Bold Quest during the coming months. For the first time, cyber will be a major component of the efforts.