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Defense Networking Goes Commercial

Data in the unclassified world will have brand names as the department outsources some capabilities.

U.S. Defense Department data will be invading the commercial world as the department moves its unclassified information out of its own hands. Terry Halvorsen, acting Defense Department chief information officer, described the upcoming move at the Wednesday luncheon of the AFCEA International Cyber Symposium, being held June 24-25 in Baltimore.

“We’re going to move more things into the commercial world—the unclassified business world,” Halvorsen declared. In 28 days, the department will issue policy guidelines that let industry store, move around and play with level 3 to 5 data, he added. He emphasized that these will be guidelines, not standards. “We’re getting away from prescriptive solutions.”

A similar approach will be taken with business applications. “We have way over-customized in our business applications,” Halvorsen stated. “This has to go away. In terms of those functions, we are not special—we are like any top company. We need to be able to use those [commercial business] technologies.”

Halvorsen also called for information technology purchases that have “clean code.” Many organizations already are doing that when they buy items, he said, because the code is simple and safe.

Halvorsen also called for software that uses the minimum bandwidth to do the job. And, he expressed concerns about the department’s routers and switches. “They’re old and they don’t always allow us to do what we want to,” he said, adding that the department is working that problem right now.