DISA

September 7, 2021
 

Trace Systems Inc., Vienna, Virginia, was awarded a competitive, single award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide communications systems acquisition, integration, installation, and operations and maintenance in support of U.S. Air Forces Central Command (USAFCENT) deployed mission requirements. The not-to-exceed/ceiling value of the contract is $600,000,000.  The minimum guarantee will be funded by fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance funds. Primary performance will be at USAFCENT locations throughout Southwest Asia. The solicitation (HC1028-19-R-0009) was issued as a full and open competitive action via Beta.Sam.Gov, and seven proposals were received.

September 1, 2021
 

ARINC Inc., Annapolis, Maryland, was awarded a non-competitive, firm fixed-price, single-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a ceiling value of $205,062,956, for Datalink Services to provide certified and continuous flight safety services, Datalink messaging and voice communications with worldwide air traffic control agencies, and general data and voice for government command and control agencies.  The $15,000 minimum guarantee will be funded by fiscal 2022 operations and maintenance funds. Primary performance will be at the contractor’s facility.

August 18, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Credit: Shutterstock/Olivier Le Moal

The Defense Information Systems Agency intends next month to award a contract for its Thunderdome zero-trust architecture and to begin implementing a prototype within six months. The new architecture is expected to enhance security, reduce complexity and save costs while replacing the current defense-in-depth approach to network security.

A defense-in-depth architecture essentially calls for placing various network protection tools, such as firewalls, antivirus protection software and secure web gateways at multiple points in the network with redundancy to keep attackers out of the network. Zero trust, on the other hand, requires that every user and every device be authenticated every time before being granted network access.

August 26, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, USAF, DISA director and Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ) DODIN commander, views five distinct lines of effort as the key to DISA's new strategy. (DISA photo)

Five key lines of effort define the course that the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is taking to ensure information superiority for the U.S. military as it moves forward against new adversarial challenges. These lines of effort are the framework for the agency’s new strategy that is being developed and implemented at DISA.

August 18, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) officials do not plan to try to force others in the Defense Department or military services to use its zero-trust solution known as Thunderdome.

Thunderdome is a fledgling program that offers a range of capabilities, including secure access service edge (SASE), software-defined area networking (SD-WAN), identity credential access management (ICAM) and virtual security stacks.

SASE, which is pronounced “sassy,” is a technology package that includes SD-WAN, firewall as a service and cloud access security broker. While SASE has been implemented across much of the commercial world, it has not yet been widely adopted by the government.

August 19, 2021
By George I. Seffers
A soldier helps set up a tactical command post to test communications in Germany, July 8, 2019.  Photo by Army Sgt. Patrick Jubrey

The U.S. Defense Department has entered the first phase of delivery on a sweeping capability known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), a once-in-a-generation modernization of the military’s approach to commanding forces.

Department officials aim to deliver a minimal viable product that includes an array of capabilities, such as a fundamental platform, identity control access management, zero-trust cybersecurity and data transport capabilities, according to Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director for command, control, communications and computers/cyber and chief information officer, Joint Staff/J-6. Once the minimal viable product, also known as an MVP, is in place, the department can continue to add capabilities.

July 30, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s Emerging Technology Directorate is beginning a new pilot program to look at how well artificial intelligence and machine learning can be applied to automate aspects of cyber defense. Credit: Shutterstock/cybrain

The Defense Information Systems Agency, known as DISA, is expanding its artificial intelligence (AI) efforts through a research agreement and a new pilot program. While both efforts are in the beginning stages, the agency is considering how to possibly apply the so-called AI capabilities to network defense—among other areas the agency is separately pursuing—as it conducts its daily 24/7 mission of protecting the Department of Defense Information Network, or DODIN.

The agency entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRADA, with Vienna, Virginia-based software company NT Concepts to apply machine learning (ML) to defensive cyber operations.

July 8, 2021
 

Comcast Government Services LLC, Reston, Virginia, was awarded a competitive, firm-fixed-price, single award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the Commercial Ethernet Gateway Region 6 to provide mission partner access, via ethernet connections, to the Department of Defense Information Network and to enable the replacement of legacy, time division multiplexing-based circuits. The total amount of all orders placed against the contract shall not exceed $75,782,800.  The guaranteed minimum amount is $500 and will be funded by fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance funds. The period of performance is 10 years, with a six-year base period and two two-year option periods from July 12, 2021 to July 11, 2031.

June 14, 2021
 

Cisco Systems Inc., San Jose, California, was awarded a single-award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a ceiling of $1,180,185,116 for brand name Cisco Smart Net Total Care and Software Support Services for users across the Department of Defense. The period of performance is a one-year base period and two one-year option periods, for a total contract life cycle of three years. Proposals were solicited from the System for Award Management website (beta.SAM.gov), and three proposals were received. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity (HC1084-21-D-0003). 

June 14, 2021
 

Comcast Government Services LLC, Reston, Virginia, was awarded a competitive firm-fixed-price, single-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the Commercial Ethernet Gateway Region 4 to provide mission partner access, via ethernet connections, to the Department of Defense Information Network and to enable the replacement of legacy, time division multiplexing-based circuits. The contract ceiling value is $84,162,000 with the $500 minimum guarantee funded by fiscal 2021 operations and maintenance funds. Primary performance will be at the contractor’s above-identified facility in Reston, Virginia.

May 21, 2021
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, highlights agency priorities and focus areas during a virtual luncheon session hosted Thursday by AFCEA's Central Maryland Chapter.

Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, (JFHQ-DODIN), highlighted agency priorities and focus areas that could provide a peek into his much-anticipated new action plan to further modernize the Defense Department.

Now a few months into his new role as DISA/JFHQ-DODIN commander, Gen. Skinner is looking to 2022 and beyond with a focus on data centricity, he said Thursday during the AFCEA Central Maryland chapter’s May virtual luncheon.

April 20, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Leaders from the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, including Gen. Garret Yee, Gen. Paul Fredenburg and Joe Wassel, found that the close working relationship of the two organizations was crucial in responding to the SolarWinds malware attack.

Facing an unprecedented malicious cyber event, the Defense Information Systems Agency, known as DISA, and the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, or JFHQ-DODIN, sprang into action, leaning on their respective round-the-clock operations, their supply chain management postures, and relying on its industry, Defense Department and government partnerships, leaders say.

April 6, 2021
 

The Boeing Co., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was awarded a non-competitive, firm-fixed-price contract for high throughput commercial military Ka-band mission essential communications and internet service on E-4B aircraft under Air Force Global Strike Command control. The face value of this action is $26,634,982, funded by fiscal 2021 operations and maintenance funds.  The total cumulative face value of the contract is $197,223,871.  Primary performance will be at Boeing Global SatCom Services Network Operations Center, Kent, Washington. The period of performance is April 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022, with four 12-month option periods. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition.

March 4, 2021
 

Leidos Inc., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a non-competitive modification action (P00040) under contract HC1028-17-C-0001. This action establishes a new cost-plus-fixed-fee contract line item number (CLIN) 1002 on the existing contract to deliver the modernization of the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems with a revised code convergence strategy. The face value of this action is $58,137,204, and is funded by fiscal 2021 and 2022 research, development, test and evaluation funding. The total cumulative face value of this contract is $195,112,140.  The performance will remain at the contractor's site. The period of performance of CLIN 1002 will be a total of 39 months, from March 1, 2021, through May 31, 2024.

February 26, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The cybersecurity problem is not going away for the military, warns retiring Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, pictured at the AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in Baltimore in 2018.

During a career spanning 34 years that involved applying information technology (IT) for the military, one of the biggest hurdles was advancing change. It is not only the challenge of providing effective and cybersecure new solutions, but is the combination of that while altering the culture and shifting processes for the better, said Vice Admiral Nancy Norton, USN.

Adm. Norton retires today from military service as the director of Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and as the commander of the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Networks (JFHQ-DODIN) after three years in that role and her service in the U.S. Navy.

February 25, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. John Hyten, USAF (l), promotes Robert Skinner, USAF (r), to lieutenant general in advanced of Skinner’s move to lead the Defense Information Systems Agency and commander, Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Networks.

Today, the Defense Information Systems Agency’s new leader, Lt. Gen. Skinner, USAF, was promoted, and tomorrow, he will take on his new role. Gen. Skinner returns to the agency, known as DISA, this time at the helm. He is taking over from Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, the current director of DISA and the commander of the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Networks (JFHQ-DODIN) as she retires after three years in the role.

February 9, 2021
 

Perspecta Enterprise Solutions LLC, Chantilly, Virginia (HC1084-21-D-0002), has been awarded a competitive single-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract for Global Content Delivery Services II for the Defense Information Systems Agency Operations Center. The contract ceiling is approximately $201,543,314, and the minimum guarantee is $10,000. The place of performance will be at government data centers or future government centers within the continental U.S.; data centers outside the continental U.S.; and other government-approved locations worldwide, in which the government may acquire an operational responsibility.

February 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The director of operations of the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron speaks to the aircrew of a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer during a Veterans Day flyover at Asan Invasion Beach on Guam, November 11, 2020. Communications capabilites, whether they are for a ceremonial flyover or for vital military operations are necessary to Guam and the vast and remote Indo-Pacific region, and are something that the Defense Information Systems Agency is investing in heavilly.  U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka

Given the remoteness of the Indo-Pacific region and the growing role of Guam in the theater, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, has been heavily investing in information technology and communications capabilities for the U.S. territory.   

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 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 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 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
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).

December 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Information Systems Agency and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center are collaborating on an artificial intelligence tool to enhance cybersecurity for the Defense Department. Credit: Titima Ongkantong/Shutterstock

The U.S. Defense Department is developing a machine learning tool that can more quickly detect cyber intrusions and enable a more rapid response.

December 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Army infantryman radios his situation report during an exercise. Future defense communications systems are likely to be smaller and more comprehensive as the military and industry collaborate on new information technology capabilities that help the warfighter in the battlespace. Credit: Capt. Lindsay Roman, USA

Speed will be the order of the day for military information systems as new technologies incorporate breakthrough innovations. Hardware also will transform as capabilities grow in influence. But above all, the entire defense information system community is undergoing major cultural changes spawned by a combination of innovation and disease.

December 1, 2020
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

Most experts agree: defense information technologies increasingly will come from the commercial sector. Traditional contractors will continue to manufacture systems requested by the military, but now nontraditional firms will be providing the defense community with systems fueled by innovative capabilities. The result will be hybrid information systems and hardware that will owe their origin to the private sector.

So, if the commercial sector is to be the source of military communications capabilities, why do we need a defense organization such as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) dedicated to providing information system services to the defense community? The answer lies in two words: defense and community.

November 13, 2020
 

Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, USAF, has been assigned as director, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and commander, Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

November 9, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Leaders help their teams turn big ideas into diamonds, says Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, DISA director and commander, JFHQ-DODIN. Credit: CoreDESIGN/Shutterstock

It is not necessary for a leader to be the most brilliant person in an organization but to foster innovation and ensure those with big ideas are given opportunities to succeed, according to Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) director and the commander for the Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN).

November 6, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Information Systems Agency provides a wide array of communications support for warfighters around the globe, including modernized electromagnetic spectrum operations tools and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. Credit: U.S. Defense Department Photo/Gunnery Sgt. Ezekiel Kitandwe

Despite the global pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has never stopped providing warfighters with critical connections needed to conduct multidomain warfare and never let up on the daily battles in cyberspace, says Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, the agency’s director and the commander of Joint Forces Headquarters for the Department of Defense Information Systems Network.

Adm. Norton made the comments during an AFCEA TechNet Cyber webinar on November 5. The webinar is part of a series of webinars leading up to the TechNet Cyber conference scheduled for December 1-3.

October 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy, pictured speaking at the Pentagon in April, explained to reporters yesterday that the department has not heard anything back from the Federal Communications Commission about the disputed Ligado ruling. Credit: DOD photo by Marvin Lynchard

The Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud effort has been tied up in the Court of Federal Claims since a preliminary injunction was issued in February. And although that has prevented the DOD from implementing Microsoft Azure cloud computing solutions, the department is not sitting idle, according to Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy.

“Cloud for me has always been first and foremost about supporting the warfighter,” Deasy told a group of reporters yesterday during a virtual Defense Writers Group meeting. “And when we got put on hold with JEDI, that didn't mean we were going to stop working on figuring out ways to support the warfighter.”

September 21, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Information Systems Agency is finishing its zero trust architecture to bring advances in security and data availability to warfighters. Credit: DISA

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.

September 3, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
DISA contracting officials Carlen Capenos, director, Office of Small Business Programs (top right) and Douglas Packard, Procurement Services executive (bottom right) speak with SIGNAL Magazine editor Robert K. Ackerman during a September 2 webinar. The officials advised companies submitting proposals to take the time to understand DISA's role in the military, how it supports warfighters and how the agency purchases goods and services. Credit: DISA

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.

August 19, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Lori Ramirez, DISA’s director, workforce services and development, discusses the agency's efforts to recruit talented personnel by using virtual meeting and information sharing tools during the pandemic and beyond.

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.

July 31, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Military and government leaders share their insights about cybersecurity challenges in the age of pandemics.

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.

July 29, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Information Systems Agency, located at Fort Meade, is spearheading a multiyear, comprehensive information technology advancement effort, which runs through fiscal year 2025 and will bring improved network capabilities, connectivity, cybersecurity and user assistance. Credit: DOD photo by Thomas L. Burton

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.  

July 17, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Carlen Capenos, director, Office of Small Business Programs at DISA, participates in a virtual event. DISA moved quickly into telework based on ongoing operations and preparations already in place when the pandemic struck. Credit: DISA

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.

July 15, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Among an array of activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Command supported the needs of the U.S. Navy ships Comfort and Mercy. Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Bill Mesta/Released

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.

July 15, 2020
By George I. Seffers
U.S. Defense Department officials intend to complete an initial zero trust architecture by year's end to improve cybersecurity, according to Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, Defense Information Systems Agency.

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.

July 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Credit: DR MANAGER/Shutterstock

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).

June 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), which sits atop the federal contracting process, often has rules allowing flexibility in contracts that can be of assistance to small businesses confronting challenges during the COVID-19 shutdown.

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.

May 20, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Network data gains value for the Defense Department amidst an increase in attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: solarseven/Shutterstock

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.

May 18, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s Cyberspace Operations Directorate is relying on a so-called battle drill concept, pulling in teams of experts to troubleshoot and fix hard-to-solve communications challenges. Credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

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.

May 13, 2020
By Julianne Simpson
Credit: Shutterstock/metamorworks

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.

May 13, 2020
 

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.

April 28, 2020
 

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.