Over the last few months, the Defense Information Systems Agency, known as DISA, has been working with the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense (DoD) chief information officer and others to finalize an initial reference architecture for zero trust. The construct, according to DISA’s director, Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, and commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network, will ensure every person wanting to use the DoD Information Network, or DODIN, is identified and every device trying to connect is authenticated.
The Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, is a combat support agency, providing and operating key command and control, information, communication, and computing technologies and capabilities for joint warfighters, national leaders, and other mission and coalition partners across the Defense Department. To provide such support over a full spectrum of military operations, the agency relies on its staff of more than 8,000 military and civilian employees.
To achieve its mission, DISA also relies heavily on contractor support, explained Douglas Packard, Procurement Services executive at the agency.
The Defense Information Systems Agency is searching for talented personnel in a broad array of career fields, including information technology, science and engineering, program and project management, contracting and acquisition and human resources—and the effort to recruit those personnel virtually is gaining steam.
Although the world is still in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, technology experts agree lessons the infection teaches about cybersecurity and resilience are emerging. As people don masks to decrease the likelihood of germs entering their bodies, they also must put barriers in place to protect their networks. And, just as they prepare for how they will rebound from the illness or economic downturns, they must examine their options for life after the pandemic.
The Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, is making progress on an important modernization project, despite the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In November, Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist designated DISA to lead the Fourth Estate Network Optimization Program. The multiyear, comprehensive information technology advancement effort, which runs through fiscal year 2025 will bring improved network capabilities, connectivity, cybersecurity and user assistance.
In response to the pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has incorporated changes into its operations that are likely to remain in place after the virus has passed into memory. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the agency to adopt new procedures that have shown their worth for efficiency and employee quality of life.
Some of these measures, such as telework, already were in place to a limited degree. Others, such as virtual meetings, became the rule rather than the exception that they were originally. Other changes made of necessity have been adopted for regular use.
In response to the teleworking boom resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) dramatically increased network capacity, expanded access to virtual private networks and adopted new online collaboration tools, allowing thousands of Defense Department personnel to safely and securely work from home.
Addressing the audience tuning into the Army’s 2020 Signal Conference, which is sponsored by AFCEA and streamed online, Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, the agency’s director, reported that the agency never shut down and never stopped working during the ongoing pandemic.
The U.S. Defense Department by the end of the calendar year will release an initial zero trust architecture to improve cybersecurity across the department, says Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, Defense Information Systems Agency, and commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network.
Norton’s agency, commonly known as DISA, is working with the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense (DOD) chief information officer and others on what she calls an initial “reference” architecture for zero trust, which essentially ensures every person wanting to use the DOD Information Network, or DODIN, is identified and every device trying to connect is authenticated.
Network data collection, analysis and sharing are core to cyber defense, and Tinisha McMillan is on a mission to improve all three.
As division chief for the Cyber Situational Awareness and NetOps Division within the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), McMillan is responsible for building and providing cyber analytics and tools to enhance the department’s cyber information sharing to protect the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN).
The COVID-19 coronavirus has been a mixed bag for small business contractors working with the federal government. Some are facing unique challenges as they try to fulfill their contractual obligations amid site shutdowns, while others are able to meet their obligations relatively seamlessly under contracts designed for telework.
Small business problems range from workers’ compensation details to meeting contractual specifications when not allowed to work on government sites. These problems may be the tip of the iceberg as the government moves forward in the post-COVID-19 era, experts say.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique challenge for the Defense Department. More people are working remotely, networks are busier than ever and hackers from around the world seek to take advantage, driving up demand for more situational awareness data to keep those networks safe. And the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) continues to deliver that data under the most unusual of circumstances.
The Cyberspace Operations Directorate within the Defense Information Systems Agency is employing a so-called battle drill concept to ensure communications and data are available to the combatant commanders, senior leaders or other key officials when required. The directorate is responsible for the global flow of information, especially in support of the U.S. military’s 11 combatant commands and other key Defense Department operations. The battle drill model collectively pulls together the resources needed to tackle complex communication and data issues.
By using multiple lines of effort, including college and university engagement, social media, virtual events, military outreach and partnerships, the Defense Information Systems Agency is taking a multidimensional approach to the development and growth of its cybersecurity workforce.
According to the (ISC)² 2019 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow by 145 percent to meet the demand for skilled cybersecurity talent. In the United States, it needs to grow by 62 percent. “It’s a big task,” the report said.
Verato Inc., McLean, Virginia, was awarded a firm-fixed-price delivery order (HS0021-20-F-0010) under HS0021-19-A-0005, for an estimated $8,735,669 for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). The delivery order provides for tri-merge credit reports and credit monitoring in support of the background investigation process. Work will be performed in McLean, Virginia. This delivery order is funded with fiscal 2020 DCSA working capital funds, with $2,183,917 obligated at time of award. The anticipated delivery period is from May 17, 2020, through May 16, 2021. DCSA Acquisition and Contracting, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity.
AT&T Corp., Columbia, Maryland, was awarded a firm-fixed-price contract modification to exercise Option Year Four for the Northstar Long-Haul Telecommunications Network and associated transmission circuits for an ultra-high frequency/line of sight communications system network. The face value of this action is $12,312,149, funded by fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance funds. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $68,464,912. The place of performance will be at various sites geographically dispersed across the continental U.S. The period of performance for this action is May 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021.
With more U.S. Defense Department personnel working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is experiencing a surge in demand for its prototypical technology developed under the Cloud-Based Internet Isolation program and is seeking to more quickly deliver the technology to larger numbers of users.
General Dynamics Information Technology, Fairfax, Virginia, was awarded a firm-fixed-price task order, HC1013-20-F-0073, to support the Air Force Air Defense Communication Services (ADCS). The face value of this action is $7,171,537, funded by fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance funds. The total cumulative value of the order is $14,486,526. This task order was awarded under the competitively awarded, single-award blanket purchase agreement (HC1013-15-A-0004) against General Services Administration's Information Technology Schedule 70 contract for ADCS. The place of performance is throughout the continental U.S., as well as Alaska, Hawaii and Guam. The period of performance for this action is April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., San Jose, California (HC1084-20-D-0003), was awarded a competitive, single award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, firm-fixed-price contract with a ceiling of $61,825,294 for integrated processor capacity services – X-86 (IPCS-X) for Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Operations Center. The place of performance will be at DISA data centers or future DISA or DISA-approved locations where DISA assumes an operational responsibility for support of Missions Partner service requirements.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is working more closely with the intelligence community and is partnering with the National Security Agency (NSA) on a number of cybersecurity-related efforts, officials say.
The Pentagon is looking to buy an enterprisewide identity management system to provide a single authoritative source of user information, identity authentication and information technology access for millions of U.S. Defense Department computer network users. The Defense Information Systems Agency’s call for white papers on the development and deployment of a Defense Department Enterprise Identity Service is the first step in identifying two or three vendors to take part in a competitive prototyping contest under an other transaction authority effort.