Joint Information Enterprise Rocks

May 3, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive
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 Hard and fast objects form the foundation for the Pentagon’s newest effort at a C4 enterprise.

The U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Information Enterprise (JIE), launched by the Joint Chiefs of Staff Operational Deputies, will be built on “five big rocks,” according to the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, told the audience at the AFCEA NOVA Naval IT Day on May 3 that big rocks must serve as the foundation so that little rocks can be implemented atop them.

The admiral described the first JIE rock as network normalization. This would entail better situational awareness and enterprise-level security. The second rock would be data consolidation.

The admiral’s third rock is identification and access management. User authentication would be available on any edge device in the department, he stated. The fourth rock for the enterprise would be enterprise services. These would include email, authorization and even data storage, he noted.

The fifth foundation rock would be governance. The intent will be to streamline processes, possibly leading to a single information technology board within the Defense Department.

The effort that generated JIE dates back to August 2010, according to a Defense Department document. Among several efficiency initiatives being launched was a thrust to consolidate the defense information technology infrastructure and generate savings. Two months later, the secretary of defense directed that the department consolidate its information technology infrastructure for the joint environment.

Last October, the department’s Information Technology Enterprise Strategy & Roadmap (ITESR) included the strategy for delivering the joint environment. One month later, a briefing to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Operational Deputies and the service chiefs by Gen. Keith B. Alexander, USA, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, focused on the challenge of developing full situational awareness across all defense networks. The cautions raised in this briefing were incorporated into the overall enterprise plan to generate JIE, the document states.

Adm. Harris emphasized that this joint approach does not preclude any individual service or organization from becoming a service provider, as long as those services are enterprise services capable of being provided to the entire department. “The JIE effort is team ball, and we are all on that team,” he declared.

The admiral reported that the first JIE demonstration would take place this summer in Europe. The use-case trial will be hosted by the U.S. European Command. The second use-case trial will be Pacific based, and it will build on lessons learned in the European effort.

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This is important step for DOD in their efforts to consolidate legacy stove pipes and conform to recent NDAA directive to migration all data and applications to commercial cloud solutions that operate at much lower cost. The real challenge will be breaking the lockin of these legacy systems, many with unknow IP right claims by the prime contractor. IT-AAC's monthly leadership roundtables have revealed new techniques and technologies for automated legacy migration tools that reverse engineer legacy code into fully normalized UML models, then re-generate into a Cloud Ready language and data model.