Changes Coming for IT at DOD Fourth Estate Agencies

Stephanie Meloni

By Stephanie Meloni, Market Intelligence Manager

The DOD CIO office continues to put a strong emphasis on moving as many IT functions as possible to an enterprise construct. This includes efforts like milCloud, JEDI, data and network consolidation.

A newer consolidation and standardization project that will be picking up steam this year is the Fourth Estate network consolidation. Fourth Estate agencies consist of 28 Pentagon agencies outside of the Service branches. Combined, these agencies are responsible for about a fifth of the DOD’s budget.

The FY19 NDAA initially requested budget cuts for the Fourth Estate, and a GAO report which came out last September requested some efficiency initiatives around consolidation for the Fourth Estate. As a result of these budget and efficiency recommendations, DOD plans to consolidate network and other IT functions.

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DISA’s New Directorate: Emergent Technology

By Mark Wisinger, Senior Analyst

Few organizations do as much restructuring as DISA. Not a year goes by without an organizational change or shuffle! If all goes according to plan, there is going to be a new group at DISA – the Emergent Technology directorate.

DISA System Innovation Scientist Stephen Wallace, who spoke at a recent AFCEA luncheon, is lined up to lead this new group, which will be focused on adopting emerging technologies more rapidly into the DISA enterprise.

Slated for formal establishment in November 2019, the directorate will be composed of three divisions: Innovation Support, Infrastructure and Collaboration & Defense. It’ll be a “smaller, tighter-knit group” according to Wallace. A smaller group will lend itself to closer collaboration and rapid decision making.

The directorate will not be duplicating what DARPA does because they will be looking for solutions much closer to reality — think 3-5 years away from maturity.

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DEOS FY19 Update

By Ryan Granato, Analyst

In October the DOD announced it was moving the $8 billion back-office cloud solutions procurement to the GSA Schedule 70 contract, a move to make enterprise information technology services for office productivity available to not only DOD, but to other government agencies as well.

At a recent industry day, representatives from DISA and the General Services Administration provided an updated outlook on the Defense Enterprise Office Solution (DEOS). Dr. Brian Hermann, Unified Capabilities Portfolio Manager at DISA, provided insight into DEOS and how industry can participate.

DEOS will help create a simpler, defensible perimeter by reducing the DOD IT footprint and provides full integration across the DOD, while minimizing security risks and reducing costs. The DOD is continuing to see less data stored locally, meaning that an increased number of employees will be provided only with mobile equipment and a docking station that has access to enterprise services and data.

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FY19 Advice From DISA Industry Day

By Ryan Granato, Analyst

At their recent forecast to industry, DISA outlined a future built around mobility, cybersecurity, small businesses and the importance of targeted industry pitches. Here are key insights from DISA leaders for securing FY19 business:

Selling to DISA
When selling to DISA, it is paramount for industry to tailor their pitch to how their solutions can work specifically for outlined requirements and referenced pain points. According to Dave Bennett, director of DISA’s operations center, nine out of ten times what worked for industry commercially will not work for DISA. Even more so, he says that any pitches that reference past performance for industry will not be met with open arms. Bennett goes so far as to say, “I will zero my mind out. I will be singing la la la in the back of my head.” For best practices, Bennett says that industry must come armed with knowledge directly associated to the area they are looking to support.

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5 Reasons Shutting Down DISA Would Be a Bad Idea

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

Not for the first or last time, Congress this year considered getting rid of some agencies as a cost-cutting move, and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) may end up on that list. DISA provides networking and communications hardware and software for systems and services across all of the DOD. What might happen if the agency that handles military networking, computing and communications services gets the axe?

Senior leader communication support – DISA provides secure communication services to the White House and to other senior leaders. Keeping the infrastructure and its security under one roof creates operating efficiencies.

CYBERCOM could, theoretically, handle the role, but it would dilute that agency’s core mission of ensuring U.S. military cyber superiority – and force considerable reorganization to do so.

Spectrum management – Managing the electromagnetic spectrum is crucial to the security of communication, navigation and warfighting. That’s part of DISA’s job for the DOD, and it’s more important than ever with the networking of our ground, sea and aviation military assets. It would be a coordination nightmare to make service branches and military agencies share risk assessment and vulnerability information in their warfighting communications.

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AI in the Cards for DOD of the Future

Stephanie Meloni

By Stephanie Meloni, consultant

Across the Department of Defense artificial intelligence and machine learning are gaining real traction. And plans are in the works to establish a center dedicated to delivering AI solutions across the DOD, as well as a proposal for an AI and machine learning council as part of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act.  DOD agencies are very interested in using AI to combat and overmatch potential adversaries — and there’s no shortage of use cases across the DOD. Going forward, technology companies will want to be aware of differences between customer environments before engaging with a potential customer.

Recently, early adapters gathered at an AFCEA DC luncheon to discuss recent developments and challenges in AI and machine learning. Here are some highlights.

DISA, an example of a non-tactical customer, is looking at how to use machine learning for cyber situational awareness. DISA uses commercial machine learning technologies and contractors for Acropolis and their Big Data Platform to combat cyber threats and attacks. AI can help them shift their cyber strategy from reactive to proactive.

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The Great Migration: DISA’s Reorg and What it Means for COTS Vendors – Part 2

Building on last week’s blog post, focusing on DISA’s major reorganization where I gave an overview of the new offices and divisions and their responsibilities.  Today I’ll provide an update on how they see their role in major technology areas such as cloud and mobility playing out over this calendar year.

DISA org without names_Update

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