TechNet Cyber 2020 Coverage

December 7, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Carlen Capenos (top l), director, DISA Office of Small Business Programs; Debra Daniels (r), Vice Procurement Services executive; and Douglas Packard, Procurement Services executive and director of the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, provide the DISA Small Business Forecast to Industry at AFCEA TechNet Cyber on December 3.

As a combat support agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, provides and operates key command and control, information, communication, and computing technologies for joint warfighters, national leaders, and other mission and coalition partners across the Defense Department. To provide such support, the agency relies on industry partners, and in particular, has specific contracting set-aside measures for small businesses, including small disadvantaged companies, women-owned firms, service-disabled veteran-owned corporations and historically underutilized businesses (HUBs).

December 2, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network officials use threat intelligence to bolster the defense of the network against a surge of attacks during the pandemic. Source: Rafal Olechowski/Shutterstock

Cyber attacks against the Defense Department and many other organizations have increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the integration of cyber threat intelligence has helped the department defend its networks, according to Col. David Violand, deputy director of intelligence, Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN).

Col. Violand made the comments during the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.

December 4, 2020
By George I. Seffers
With U.S. adversaries expected to be using quantum computing technologies in the next several years, officials at the Defense Information Systems Agency are exploring quantum-resistant technologies.Credit: metamorworks/Shutterstock

Because U.S. adversaries likely will be able to use quantum computers within the next several years, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) officials are beginning to explore quantum-resistant technologies and the role the agency might play in developing or deploying those technologies.

December 2, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The vast troves of personal data on U.S. citizens are now being weaponized by foreign adversaries, panelists warn.at TechNet Cyber. Credit: Meranna/Shutterstock

Massive amounts of sensitive information on U.S. citizens are being collected, created, shared, bought and sold, and in some cases used as a weapon by the country’s adversaries, according to a panel of experts speaking at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.

The information is gathered and sold by companies such as Facebook and Google and the producers of a wide range of applications, programs and technologies. 

December 3, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Danielle Metz, acting deputy CIO for information enterprise, outlines obstacles the Defense Department faces in implementing rapid technology development and fielding processes.

The U.S. Defense Department is in the process of implementing its software modernization strategy, which starts with the goal of delivering new capability directly into the hands of the warfighter and addresses both the technical and nontechnical obstacles to that vision. Still, the department faces challenges in rapidly developing and fielding technologies, according to Danielle Metz, the department’s acting deputy chief information officer for information enterprise.

December 3, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
A Prandtl-M prototype is air launched by a Carbon Cub aircraft in a NASA test to simulate the flight conditions of the Martian atmosphere. The conventional aircraft in the Earth’s atmosphere is used to test a prototype interplanetary probe to glean knowledge that would be applied millions of miles distant. Credit: NASA imagery

Amassing data serves little purpose if it is not processed into knowledge, and that knowledge is largely wasted if leaders don’t understand what they have and how it can best be used.

That was just part of the message on empowering knowledge delivered by a NASA expert on the second day of TechNet Cyber 2020, AFCEA’s virtual event held December 1-3. Tiffany Smith, chief knowledge officer and information technology manager in NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, emphasized the importance of understanding both the knowledge at hand, knowledge priorities and the people who will exploit that knowledge to the fullest.

December 3, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Information Systems Agency's Operations Center makes sure that capabilities developed and built are operating as intended to meet warfighter and mission partner requirements and day to day operations, and it needs robust and effective industry solutions, says David Bennet, director of the Operations Center. Credit: DISA

As part of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA's) annual Forecast to Industry, several leaders outlined specific technology needs for tactical operations support, communications and network management. Speaking at AFCEA’s TechNet Cyber virtual conference on December 3, Col. Chris Autrey, USAF, chief, Defense Enclave Services (DES) Directorate at DISA, presented expected solicitations in support of the Fourth Estate Network Optimization Program, which he is leading.

December 3, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Defense Information Systems Agency officials are moving toward a secure and agile software development process known as DevSecOps for new contracts. Credit: Andrey Suslov/Shutterstock

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is moving toward requiring rapid, agile and secure software development processes for new systems.

Brian Hermann, director and program executive officer, Services and Development Directorate within the agency, said he wanted to make it clear that the process known as DevSecOps will be increasingly essential for new contracts. 

December 3, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Information Systems Agency's Joint Service Provider, which supplies crucial information technology to the nation's top military leaders, such as Gen. Mark Milley, USA, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, is looking for industry innovation in network and communications capabilities. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Marisol Walker

The Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA's) Joint Service Provider, or JSP, is looking for industry help. The JSP is the information technology (IT) service provider supporting the highest authorities at the Department of Defense, including the Office of Secretary of Defense, all of the U.S. military department heads, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Staff, and most of the other senior DOD leaders within the Pentagon and throughout the national capital region, explained Sajeel Ahmed, the JSP’s vice director at DISA. Over the next year, the JSP will be issuing industry solicitations for network hardware, cybersecurity solutions and communications technologies.

December 3, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Maj. Gen. Garrett Yee, USA, assistant to the director, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), adorned with 3D glasses, speaks last year about the agency's annual Forecast to Industry. For 2021, DISA is looking to build on the activities it ramped up during the pandemic. Credit: DISA

Faced with a complex year amid a pandemic, the leader of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is proud of the way the organization continued to provide crucial communications and network capabilities to warfighters. The agency is thankful for the support from industry in supplying global solutions in such a unique time. However, with a never-ending 24/7/365 mission and adversaries continuing to attack its networks without pause, DISA cannot relent on providing cyber-secure yet scalable tools. And for this, the agency needs the industry’s best efforts, said Vice Adm Nancy Norton, USN, DISA director and commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN).

December 3, 2020
By George I. Seffers
A U.S. Space Force office has revealed a hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial satellite contracts to be awarded in the coming months. Credit; Panuwatccn/Shutterstock

During the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, the U.S. Space Force revealed a total of 25 commercial satellite communications (COMSATCOM) contracts to be awarded in the coming months. 

Mike Nichols, chief of the COMSATCOM Solutions program, a business unit of the Commercial Satellite Communications Office, U.S. Space Force, highlighted several of the opportunities. Some programs released requests for proposal in November, but industry still has time to respond.

December 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: metamorworks/Shutterstock

Innovative ideas may hold the key to thwarting cyber adversaries emboldened by opportunities offered in the COVID-19 pandemic. And, the source of these innovative approaches may be diverse personnel who break the mold of conventional cybersecurity professionals.

December 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Brig. Gen. Paul Fredenburgh III, USA, is the deputy commander, JFHQ-DODIN.

The Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN) is partnering with a broad base of national security organizations and industry to counter an increasing threat to U.S. forces and their operations worldwide. The JFHQ-DODIN seeks to meet this challenge with four primary focus areas that include new technologies such as automation to move data, hone commanders’ information and defend the network.

December 2, 2020
By George I. Seffers
A Marine uses a radio during a field exercise at Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan, in 2017. A resilient network is a key component for the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept. The Pentagon is developing a strategy to enable JADC2. Credit: Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carl King

Pentagon officials are developing a strategy related to the joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) concept that should be delivered soon to the combatant commands, according to Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, the Joint Staff's chief information officer and director of command, control, communications and computers, also known as the J-6.

Gen. Crall made the comments during the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.

December 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/Niyazz

The Defense Department’s new cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) coincidentally took effect on the first day of TechNet Cyber, AFCEA’s virtual event being held December 1-3. Leading officials with the Defense Department, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and industry discussed what its implementation will mean to the defense industrial base (DIB) and the community as a whole.

December 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Col. Chris Autrey, USAF, chief, Defense Enclave Services at the Defense Information Systems Agency, speaking at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference on Tuesday, reports that the Fourth Estate Network Optimization Program will increase interoperability across defense agencies and field activities, as DISA migrates to a single network to support them.

The Defense Information Systems Agency’s, or DISA’s, one year-old Fourth Estate Network Optimization Program is progressing. The multiyear, comprehensive, information technology advancement effort, which runs through fiscal year 2025, will bring improved network capabilities, connectivity, cybersecurity and user assistance, leaders claim.

A year ago, Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist designated DISA to lead the effort to optimize networks and services as part of the Defense Department’s (DOD’s) larger information technology (IT) reform activities. Within DISA, the Defense Enclave Services Directorate is implementing the optimization program.

December 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Marines conduct a routine check up on an AN/TPS-59 radar. New agile spectrum efforts by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) aim to allow more efficient spectrum use on the battlefield while sharing spectrum with civilian bandwidth users. Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. John Hall, USMC

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is leading three different efforts that are working toward agile electromagnetic spectrum operations. While one focuses largely on improved spectrum usage by the military, the main focal point is to share bandwidth with civilian users in a way that does not inhibit either military operations or public bandwidth uses.

These three efforts were discussed by experts at TechNet Cyber 2020, AFCEA’s virtual event being held December 1-3. Leading officials with DISA and industry are outlining challenges and opportunities beckoning the defense communications community.

December 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/Golden Sikorka

The U.S. Defense Department is working toward a nationwide comprehensive public safety communications network that addresses most of the drawbacks facing emergency communications today. Local bases would offer the same capabilities for routine and critical emergency communications, and they would interact with state, tribal and local government systems.

December 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Vice Adm. Nancy A. Norton, USN, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and commander, Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, reports that the interagency and international partnerships DISA has forged have strengthened the protection of critical assets around the world. Adm. Norton was the opening keynote speaker December 1 at AFCEA TechNet Cyber Conference, being held virtually through December 3.

Like most organizations during the pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, is doing things a bit differently this year. Naturally, the agency is leveraging virtual events to increase its engagement with key mission partners, as well as government, industry and academia, including at the annual TechNet Cyber conference, noted Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, DISA’s director and the commander of Joint Forces Headquarters for the Department of Defense Information Systems Network (JFHQ-DODIN).