The dramatic shift to remote work due to the pandemic has caused the U.S. Department of Defense to rethink how to sustain a remote workforce and what it will take to maintain operations. The chapter had the pleasure of welcoming a distinct group to their monthly luncheon to discuss how the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is adjusting to the Defense Department's current challenges. DISA was represented by a panel consisting of Maj. Gen. Garrett Yee, USA, assistant to the director; Carlen Capenos, director, Office of Small Business; Chris Paczkowski, senior technologist, Executive, Infrastructure, Directorate; Llewellyn "Don" Means Jr., executive, Nation Leadership Command Capabilities; and Stephen Wallace, systems innovation scientist, Emerging Technology Directorate.
Capenos discussed how small businesses can learn more about doing business with DISA by attending the monthly DISA Small Business 101 virtual meetings. "With regard to other transaction authority (OTA), contract vehicles and SBIRs [Small Business Innovation Research], it's about aligning the right requirement with the right tool."
The DISA Office of Small Business has completed one SBIR Phase 3 to date. What began as a prototype in 2019 is now a successful OTA, stated Gen. Yee in reference to Cloud Based Internet Isolation (CBII). In response to the additional cyber threats and attacks with cloud-based technologies, CBII looks to separate the threat from direct connections to Defense Department networks.
Paczkowski explained that when the shift to remote work happened earlier in the year, there was a dire need for an infrastructure and bandwidth to support the "new normal" within the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN). There was an upgrade to worldwide Defense Department Internet access points by 200 percent. "We've been pretty busy."
DISA has also been looking hard at zero trust initiatives as the landscape continues to evolve. "There is a reconsideration of how we look at the perimeter as a whole coupled with industry input as well as a push toward remote classified use," explained Wallace.
As the virtual luncheon came to a close, there were many questions about the Fourth Estate Network Optimization Program, which is set to consolidate 28 networks and carry out the vision of a single service provider with unified command and control to increase security, provide more efficiency and improve the user experience. Means stated that they are on schedule for the Defense Enclave Services solicitation. New information is updated frequently via their website to stay up to date with DISA. Gen. Yee thanked the chapter for the close relationship that has been ongoing for many years and encouraged everyone to stay engaged with DISA.
In October, the chapter hosts a DISA panel moderated by Maj. Gen. Garrett Yee, USA, assistant to the director (upper r); and including Carlen Capenos, director, Office of Small Business (lower l); Chris Paczkowski, senior technologist, Executive, Infrastructure, Directorate (c); Llewelyn "Don" Means Jr., executive, Nation Leadership Command Capabilities (upper l); and Steve Wallace, systems innovation scientist, Emerging Technology Directorate (lower r).