2015 NDAA could transition JIE from Concept to Concrete Reality
May 9, 2014 Leave a comment
If you’ve sat through our briefings or articles, you’ve no doubt heard us emphasize that the JIE is not a program of record. It doesn’t have a budget or a program manager and remains a concept focused on interoperability and a shared security architecture. Sure, recent funded activities like Joint Regional Security Stack (JRSS) and Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) which are aimed at increasing bandwidth and consolidating security architecture are being publicly framed by those involved as being in the spirit of the JIE. However, there remains no authoritative framework defining whether this or that program is part of the JIE.
The committee is concerned that the Department cannot readily indicate which programs are affected by the standards and processes being developed for JIE. The committee believes that JIE cannot be effective if the Department does not understand the span of all programs falling under the rubric of JIE, which will effect resourcing, development, manpower, testing, and evaluation.
– Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities
There are signs many in Congress, particularly those on the powerful House Armed Services Committee, have had enough and want something more concrete and measurable. The committee’s concern is three-fold. It believes this ambiguity will lead to sole-source or brand name contracts for JIE components. Also, as the quote above suggests, Congress wants to make sure the Pentagon can say how the JIE will affect resources. This becomes more relevant as purses get tighter. Lastly, the committee criticizes the Department for moving too slowly to commercial cloud services, a critical aspect of the JIE.
As a result, the mark-up for the NDAA from the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities includes language that will direct the DOD CIO to identify all funded activities and milestones that contribute to the JIE over the next few years. It’s uncertain what will actually happen given that Teri Takai, the current DOD CIO is outgoing. With a little more than two years until Election Day, it’s unlikely this administration will nominate a replacement.
However, it’s likely that Congress will continue placing pressure on DOD to move toward outlining what the JIE is in terms of real world programs and technologies, both now and in the near future. The JIE is as high-profile as DOD initiatives get and is not going anywhere. The upcoming debates over the NDAA will, in the end, push DOD toward a more defined framework of programs and initiatives to make DOD’s priorities clearer. This should lead to more investments in cloud technology, bandwidth, application rationalization, datacenter optimization, and virtualization. Stay tuned!