Opportunities on the Horizon within DISA Part 1

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

This week DISA’s Director of Strategic Planning and Information, Tony Montemarano, met with industry partners to give an update on DISA’s major initiatives in the pipeline. As I pointed out in a Webinar earlier this year, DISA is at the heart of major enterprise wide initiatives for DOD; in addition to legacy roles like command and control, hosting, and telecommunications, newer initiatives like DOD Enterprise Portal Service, Defense Enterprise Mobility (classified and unclassified), Enterprise Directory Services, Unified Communications, and Global Network Services provide a wealth of opportunities for COTS vendors. Today I’ll be diving into Mr. Montemarano’s update on how DISA is faring in this fiscal environment and what the agency is doing in the areas of cloud procurement.

FY15 Budget Outlook…

Fortunately for those selling to DISA, the DISA budget is somewhat unscathed by spending reductions seen across the board in DOD. In fact, DISA’s budget is set to increase over the next two years. The reason being, 80% of DISA funding comes from the Defense Working Capital Fund (DWCF), the remaining 20% is appropriated by Congress. The way the DWCF works is DISA gets paid by the following military departments: Air Force, Army, and Navy, for the services it provides. In the last year or so, military departments have moved more of their applications and systems into DISA’s hosting facilities, thus increasing DWCF’s revenues. This is good news in that more revenue is available for big ticket enterprise projects like what DISA‘s trying to do in cloud computing.

Expanding Beyond milCloud…

Mr. Montemarano gave an update on DISA’s cloud policy in light of recent changes. If you haven’t heard, DOD CIO, Terry Halvorsen removed the “cloud broker” label from DISA.  For those selling cloud technologies into DOD — this spreads out the playing field a bit. However, DISA remains the biggest DOD cloud provider and is looking to expand beyond its private cloud— milCloud─ to leverage commercial cloud hosting physically located within DOD facilities, commercial private clouds and commercial public clouds. Read Rick Antonucci’s recent blog post for more details on these cloud models.

Halvorsen is really pushing the departments to move toward more commercial cloud adoption and is looking to make security requirements easier for cloud vendors. This is where DISA comes in since they oversee security requirements for the cloud. I expect we’ll soon see an updated DOD Cloud Computing Strategy.

Something to also keep in mind is that despite a warming trend toward commercial cloud, program managers have to make the business case to senior leaders anytime they want to go outside for cloud hosting. The solution also has to provide a cheaper/ more efficient option than using DOD’s hosting facilities. Montemarano warns industry of a little-known trend taking place: as commercial cloud vendors are allowed to host increasingly sensitive information, oversight and micro-managing will become more commonplace for DOD information assurance managers.

For more information on DISA’s priorities, make sure to check back for part two next week — where I’ll cover updates on DISA’s evolving role in cybersecurity as well as what contracting consolidation means for COTS vendors and small businesses.


About Lloyd McCoy Jr.
Lloyd McCoy is the manager of immixGroup’s Market Intelligence organization, leveraging market analysis and purchasing trends to help immixGroup suppliers and partners shorten their sales cycles. He has a M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, a M.A. in Public Policy and a B.A. in Political Science, both from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining immixGroup, Lloyd was a senior analyst in the Intelligence Community for eight years, serving in a variety of senior analytic and project management positions in the U.S. and abroad.

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