Industry Is DISA’s New Best Friend

April 20, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
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The information agency plans a future with commercial partnerships.

Industry will hold the key to U.S. military information technology systems, according to the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Lt. Gen. Alan R. Lynn, USA, explained industry’s role to the keynote luncheon audience at Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium (DCOS) 2016, being held in Washington, D.C., April 20-22.

“We want the technology industry to partner with us to develop the next generation of military [information technology] services,” Gen. Lynn said. “We’re seeking more opportunities to provide CRADAs [cooperative research and development agreements] with industry.”

Gen. Lynn said DISA’s near-term requirements include network anomaly detection. “If you have something that allows seeing anomalies better, we’ll plug it into our systems,” he said, addressing industry. For the medium term, DISA will need software-defined networks.

And, above all, security measures reign supreme. “If you have novel ideas of how to do encryption, we’re all ears,” the general stated. DISA’s efforts to build out the network, which are essential with the looming Internet of Things, will rely on the assured identity and security piece, he added.

Gen. Lynn acknowledged the difficulties that startup companies have doing business with DISA and its defense acquisition rules. “Startup companies have about nine months to produce results,” he observed. “We realize that, and we’re trying to work a new paradigm for startup companies. We’re learning as we go.”

But regardless of the size of the contractor, Gen. Lynn emphasized one key point. “Lastly, remember, you have to give me a good deal."

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