• Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, DISA, gives the luncheon keynote at the Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in May. Photo credit: Michael Carpenter
     Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, DISA, gives the luncheon keynote at the Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in May. Photo credit: Michael Carpenter

DISA Tells Industry: Be Our Partner

November 7, 2018
By Julianne Simpson
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Agency leaders highlight shared mission, vision and values.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) provided in-depth information about its acquisition and procurement plans at its annual Forecast to Industry event with the theme of  “Trusted Partnerships.”

“Our theme embodies the way we work closely with you—our industry partners—to develop solutions for DOD and our warfighters. Working together expands our capabilities and we could not do it without you,” said DISA Director Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, to an audience of around 1,000. The event was also live streamed.

“As I see it, that trusted partnership is incredibly important for us to fulfill our vision of connecting and protecting the warfighter in cyberspace,” Adm. Norton stated.

Partnerships are rooted in ethical behavior, she added, emphasizing the importance of transparency for effective collaboration, accountability and the need for cost-saving capabilities. “Being in sync and having an opportunity to talk to you in a forum like this is really useful,” the admiral said.

Dana Deasy, chief information officer, DOD, echoed sentiments about having ongoing dialogue with industry partners and stressed DISA’s prominence, saying the agency is threaded through everything at the Defense Department.

“Cloud, AI, C3 and cyber all will have their unique challenges as we move forward. DISA will provide expert support for each of these areas as we continue to modernize our capabilities at DOD,” Deasy said.

The mantra at the DOD that he has been pushing hard is cyber first, cyber always. So, what does that mean exactly for industry partners?

“We must bake-in cybersecurity into every network, every piece of equipment and software that is procured within the department. Cost, schedule and performance is something we are all well-versed in. However what we really need to be saying is security, cost, schedule, performance,” Deasy said. “Our soldiers downrange, our sailors at sea, civilians in their offices and yes, our industry partners, all play vital roles in protecting the DOD.”

Mobility adds to the ever-evolving cybersecurity challenge. “We have to step up and face the reality that the world around us is becoming more and more mobile each and every day. We are going to have to move to a strategy of identity, credential and access management that moves us beyond the physical path as I believe the mobile device is a device that’s going to become the predominance of how we work and interact and communicate across the department going forward,” Deasy said. “Mobility is a way of life.”

During a media roundtable, Roger Greenwell, DISA’s risk management executive, acknowledged the conversation with industry has changed over the last couple of years. Though most of the reasons why remain in the classified space, he did say there’s been a greater awareness of the threat and what DISA can do from a legal perspective with help from Congress.

Industry partners can find DISA acquisition opportunities at or above $5 million on the Forecast of Procurement Actions at https://go.usa.gov/xPV8c . The next update will be in May 2019.

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