The 3 DOD trends you need to know

Stephanie MeloniBy Stephanie Meloni, consultant, and Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

As we prepare for the Department of Defense FY18 budget briefing we’ll deliver at this year’s Government IT Sales Summit, we’ve been able to take a step back and look across the DOD to identify department-wide trends, initiatives and happenings.

Several are jumping out, driven by a fairly new administration and an updated National Defense Authorization Act.

Here are three trends to consider if you sell or want to sell technology to the DOD.

  1. Technology needs to be easy

Across the department, we hear a lot of DOD IT decision makers lament how complex and cumbersome many of the IT systems and solutions have become. Sometimes we forget that not every end-user is an IT specialist – sometimes it’s a soldier on the edge. Time-sensitive operations need solutions that just work. The DOD needs their analysts deriving decisions from critical data – not manually writing scripts, configuring tools and finessing data.

We’re calling simplified, easy-to-use, more automated solutions instinctive technology – and it’s proving to be a real differentiator as we go into FY18. Instinctive technology includes both simple user-friendliness alongside a minimal need for hands-on manual tweaking. Whether we’re talking about a network awareness tool, software-defined networking or cloud, the DOD is asking for instinctive solutions at levels, from big enterprise service branch systems or a mission system at a combatant command.

  1. Get ready for cyber warfare

Anyone in the DOD IT community certainly knows the growing role of CYBERCOM – the US Cyber Command. With its ascension to full command status, we’re seeing a heavy emphasis on cyber warfare. CYBERCOM has a big role in influencing cyber defense protocols and policy across the department – the respective service components such as ARCYBER, MARFORCYBER, the 24th Air Force, and US Fleet Cyber Command will roll up under CYBERCOM.

We’re seeing a big emphasis on automating cyber defense. Why wait for a human to manually react? CYBERCOM wants to see innovative cyber defense tools that automatically repel and repair – we expect to see this kind of capability replicated across the DOD.

  1. Multi-domain solutions are imperative

DOD service branches, combatant commands and agencies work with a wide variety of partners, including internal DOD partners, the intelligence community, civilian agencies and allied partner nations. There is an astounding number of networks and multiple classification levels. Various stakeholders within and outside of the DOD need to be able to share information, communicate and operate across all domains.

Multi-domain solutions are now an imperative—DOD leaders want a “domain on-demand” capability. That means tools should no longer be limited by domain. If a DOD component is operating in one domain that’s contested, then they want the ability to rely on the others to bolster their warfighting capability. It’s going to affect everything from networking and infrastructure management; to command and control applications integration; to data collection and analysis. Multi-domain operations are all about getting the right information (regardless of what domain it’s originating from) to battlespace decision makers in the right time frame. It’s really key in FY18 and beyond, no matter your specific DOD customer.

We’ll have lots more to say during our FY18 DOD budget briefing at the 4th Annual Government IT Sales Summit. Register before Oct. 31 for early-bird rates.

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