Roundtable with the DISA Director

May 8, 2012
By Rita Boland

The demand for bandwidth via satellite communications is unlikely to diminish as the U.S. continues to decrease the number of troops at war in the Middle East, Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins, Jr., USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) told journalists during a media roundtable today at the DISA Mission Partner Conference. However, the way that bandwidth is used operationally is expected to adjust. Possible evolutions are dependent on emerging technologies, the general explained, citing as an example the demand for high-definition and full-motion video even on mobile devices. Various military groups are running pilot programs to decide which mobile platforms and operating systems will best meet their needs. And though DISA might prefer if they all picked the same device and system because that would make the agency's job easier, personnel know that multiple technologies will be introduced, Gen. Hawkins said. "We want to be agnostic," he shared. As long as the right security wraps around the apps, users can choose whatever works best for them. DISA is getting a jump on the deployment of new mobile devices by putting out security measures in advance of mobile applications. Another change underway involves DISA serving as a cloud broker. The concept is still under development, but the construct would enable military organizations to come to DISA with cloud needs and then the agency would direct them to the proper clouds-including those offered by industry-based on their needs. During the roundtable the general also discussed the Future Mission Network, which is evolving out of the Afghan Mission Network. It will have a multifaceted role and will better connect various partners. A major focus area right now for DISA is the enterprise portal, Gen. Hawkins said. The agency is working with several other military organizations on the project. Personnel are examining global content delivery and how to move it into the cloud.

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