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DISA

Cyberspace-Enabled Coalitions May Save Cyberspace

December 5, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Cyber has provided the means for rapidly assembling and operating military coalitions in the post-Cold-War era. Now, the very nature of the domain may require coalitions to save it from a growing menu of threats. These threats can range from annoying hackers to organized crime to malicious nation-states and even geopolitical movements to restrict the flow of ideas. While the panoply of perils is diverse, the actions to defend against them may have to spring from the well of government and organizational cooperation.

A Clash of Cultures Is Increasingly Defining Cyberspace

December 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

More than just generational differences characterize today's cyber work force. People of all ages have different ways of thinking and different goals for their profession. The variation is almost as great as the technology changes they are incorporating.

DISA to Roll Out Unclassified and Classified Mobile Capabilities, App Store

November 26, 2013
By Jim Sweeney

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) expects to have its Defense Department Mobile Unclassified Capability (DMUC) ready for initial operational capability in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014. Dr. Jennifer Carter, DISA’s component acquisition executive, said she expects 100,000 users in fiscal 2014 and “well beyond” that number after 2014. The DMUC will support multiple devices and carriers, she noted.

Speaking at the Mobile Technologies Symposium of the AFCEA Washington, D.C., Chapter, Carter also said the initial operational capability of the Defense Department Mobile Classified Capability (DMCC) is expected to roll out in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014. Currently, DISA has more than 200 users in a classified device pilot, she reported.

Defense mobile users also will have an app store available soon, likely in the second quarter of fiscal 2014. Carter said that DISA is working with the services on an app vetting process with the goal of not duplicating the approval process.

The agency has made progress in mobility programs in the past year, Carter noted, adding that it now supports 80,000 devices.

DISA also is looking at its options for Common Access Card enablement for mobile devices. Carter said this is an area where the agency needs more ideas and solutions from industry. The Defense Department requires solutions that simplify authentication and are user friendly while at the same time being secure and affordable. Carter added that DISA wants to streamline the review process for apps, hardware and operating systems.

DISA’s Forge.mil Surpasses 1,000 Projects

August 26, 2013

The Defense Information Systems Agency's (DISA's) Forge.mil has surpassed the 1,000-project mark with 798 software development works on SoftwareForge, 162 on ProjectForge and 42 on Forge SIPR (secure Internet protocol routing). Forge.mil is a family of enterprise services supporting the U.S. Defense Department’s technology community. It allows collaborative development and information technology project management through the full application life cycle. Projects on SoftwareForge are visible to all Forge.mil users, who also can browse ProjectForge for Defense Department public content made accessible within private undertakings. Visitors can go to the site to search and download software, report bugs, contribute change requests or request their own private project space in DISA’s fee-for-service offering. To access the Forge SIPR site, users must have a valid SIPR public key infrastructure software certificate or hardware token.

All Aboard for Joint Information Environment

August 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

 

Despite small pockets of resistance, officials across the U.S. Defense Department and military services support the convergence of multiple networks into one common, shared, global network. Lessons learned from the theater of operations indicate the need for the joint environment, which will provide enterprise services such as email, Internet access, common software applications and cloud computing.

That was the consensus from a wide range of speakers and panelists at the June 25-27 AFCEA International Cyber Symposium in Baltimore. The Joint Information Environment (JIE) was a major topic of discussion. Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman, USA, director of command, control, communications and computers, J-6, the joint staff, indicated that the joint environment is his highest priority and described it as the way to the future. “We have no choice. We have to be interoperable day one, phase one, to plug into any operation anywhere in the world, whether it be for homeland defense, disaster relief here in the United States or some combat operation somewhere around the world with coalition partners,” Gen. Bowman declared.

Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA, Army chief information officer (G-6), called the JIE “absolutely essential,” and indicated that it will better allow warfighters to deploy “on little notice into any austere environment.”

Teresa Salazar, deputy chief, Office of Information Dominance, and deputy chief information officer, U.S. Air Force, said she saw the need for the JIE while in the desert, where every service and every “three-letter agency” came in with its own network, which led to vulnerabilities and a host of complications.

DISA Awards App Store Contract

July 1, 2013
George I. Seffers

DISA’s Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization awarded a firm fixed price contract for the Mobile Device Management (MDM) system and Mobile Application Store (MAS) to Digital Management Inc. (DMI) of Bethesda, Md., Thursday for an initial award amount of $2.9 million, with four six-month option periods for a total lifecycle amount of nearly $16 million. The base period of performance for this contract is July 9, 2013 to July 8, 2014. The establishment of the MDM and MAS is a keystone for the Department of Defense Mobility Implementation Plan as it sets the stage for the digital ecosystem that will operate and assure the mobile devices that connect with Defense Department networks. 

Information Agency 
Changes Security Approach

July 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The increasing use of readily available and inexpensive commercial technologies by the military is changing the way the Defense Information Systems Agency provides information assurance. As these technologies are integrated into the Defense Department information infrastructure, the agency is adjusting its approaches to providing security for its networks and the data that reside on them.

Joint Information Environment Serves Five Eye Nations

June 26, 2013
By George I. Seffers

Cyber Symposium 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 2

The Joint Information Environment (JIE) took center stage during the second day of the AFCEA International Cyber Symposium in Baltimore. The conference devoted one full panel to the joint environment, but presenters throughout the day stressed the JIE’s importance to the future of the U.S. military and coalition partners, discussed some of the challenges to achieving the vision and vowed that the department will make it happen despite any remaining obstacles.

The JIE is not a program and does not have a budget, some presenters pointed out. It is, instead, a construct what will eventually consolidate all of the Defense Department’s networks into one single, global network, improving interoperability, increasing operational efficiency, enhancing situational awareness and ultimately saving costs.

The United States has been working with the so-called “five eye” nations—which also include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom—to implement a Joint Information Environment capability, Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman, U.S. Army director for command, control, communications and computers for the joint staff, told the audience. The five countries have agreed to share intelligence.

Gen. Bowman described the tactical end of JIE as the Mission Partner Environment. The Mission Partner Environment is essentially the same thing as the Afghan Future Network, which is the preferred terminology within NATO. “We’ve been working this hardest with the five eyes, and we have come up with a system that we’re using today so that we can exchange email and files from our national secret network to their national secret networks,” Gen. Bowman reported. “We just started that this past year. It’s a resounding success, it continues to grow, and we’re putting the rigor into it. That’s the way we need to run forward. We can’t be designing a new network.”

DISA Reorganizing to Better Support Warfighters

June 26, 2013
George I. Seffers

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is undergoing a substantial organizational restructuring, which is mostly complete and will be “set in concrete” July 15th. The reorganization will ensure the agency can support the military services, the joint staff, and all warfighting customers as the military moves to the Joint Information Environment, said Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, USAF, DISA director.

The reorganization includes consolidating budgeting-related organizations under the office of the comptroller. The agency also has established a customer resource management office for customer outreach and is looking to optimize operational offices. Additionally, DISA has created a Joint Technical Synchronization Office that will “work hand-in-glove” with the agency’s JIE office that is designed to help the agency move toward the JIE as expeditiously as possible.

The moves have taken place over the past month and will be complete next month.

Gen. Hawkins made the announcement while during his luncheon keynote address on the second day of the AFCEA International Cyber Symposium.

 

DISA Eliminating Firewalls

June 26, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Defense Department is building a single security architecture that ultimately will eliminate firewalls in the future, according to Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins Jr., USAF, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) director.

The future architecture, the plans for which are not yet set in stone and will likely change, the general cautioned, will be designed to protect data rather than networks. “In the past, we’ve all been about protecting our networks—firewall here, firewall there, firewall within a service, firewall within an organization, firewalls within DISA. We’ve got to remove those and go to protecting the data. You can move that data in a way that it doesn’t matter if you’re on a classified or unclassified network, depending on someone’s credentials and their need to know,” he declared.

“We want to be able to normalize our networks to where you can have the collaboration and information moving over our networks and you don’t have to have the different firewalls, the separate networks, to get those things done,” he added. Additionally, the department can realize significant savings in instrumentation—for example, by moving from “hard phones” to “soft phones,” he said.

Gen. Hawkins stressed the importance of getting “the information to the soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman, wherever it is they may be.”

The single security architecture will improve command and control capabilities, including cyber command and control, he said.

He also discussed the importance of cloud computing. The Defense Department is in the infant stage of deciding how to build the cloud and whether to use a private, public or Defense Department-owned cloud. “We want to do that in fiscal year 14 so that all of this can be automated, and we’re working feverishly to get that done,” he said.

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