The clouds, they are a-changin’. The Defense Information Systems Agency may have lost its status — always controversial and contested — as gatekeeper between the rest of the Defense Department and commercial providers of cloud computing. But Pentagon CIO Terry Halvorsen‘s decision to let other defense entities acquire cloud services on their own still leaves… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: Apple, Amazon, and Google long since outstripped the Pentagon in information technology. But as the military and intelligence community try to take advantage of commercial IT innovation, especially in cloud computing, they have run into harsh limits. Security, long-range bandwidth and the sheer volume of data¬†have created problems for the Pentagon that current commercially… Keep reading →

Fort Meade

FORT MEADE, MD: “Remember the peace dividend we took in the Clinton years in the ’90s? Welcome back,” said Douglas Packard. “That’s where we’re at.” Some¬†20 years ago as defense budgets plummeted post-Cold War, the defense industry consolidated, recalled Packard, acting head of procurement at the Defense Information Systems Agency. Contractors better beware once more,… Keep reading →

This year, the Defense Information Systems Agency has ambitious plans to streamline and speed up how military personnel access applications and services on the Defense Department’s computer networks. These efforts include launching a new pan-service user environment, making enterprise services easier to use and access, increasing the offerings and capabilities of cloud based systems, and providing a mobile device infrastructure for the services to use.

But all of those efforts are being buffeted by the uncertainty of monumental Defense budget cuts, and increasing pressures on IT budgets in particular. Keep reading →

The Defense Department has awarded a first of its kind joint enterprise licensing agreement for Microsoft collaboration, mobility, productivity and security tools. Valued at $617 million, the three-year agreement will allow the Army, Air Force and the Defense Information Systems Agency to begin using the latest versions of the company’s products.

The agreement creates a single framework providing all three organizations with a single, standardized way to access new Microsoft technologies. The contract also supports top DOD IT goals for data center consolidation, collaboration, cybersecurity, mobility, cloud computing and big data, company officials said in a statement. Keep reading →

The National Security Agency is launching a mobile device capability at the end of this year that will allow its personnel to securely access classified information with their smartphones and tablet computers.

The program, which is a joint effort with the Defense Information Systems Agency, could potentially provide the military services with similar secure information access capabilities. Keep reading →

The Defense Information Systems Agency wants to kick down a lot of existing security boundaries so that commanders can work together efficiently without having their email, video and text messaging hung up in a thicket of contradictory security requirements. But increasing access to classified command networks calls for some tradeoffs between security and utility, Anthony Montemarano, DISA’s director for strategic planning told Breaking Defense.

To meet its goals and protect military networks, DISA, is working with Cyber Command to share information and develop tactics and policies to respond quickly to cyber attacks. The agency is also working closely with the NSA on security technologies such as encryption for mobile devices, Montemarano said. Keep reading →

The Defense Department’s release of a new mobile device strategy late last week provides a revealing snapshot of how much work lies ahead for Defense officials in rationalizing the rapid adoption of smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices across the Department. It also highlights the urgent challenge to secure the use of those devices on Defense networks – even if it fell short of describing how and when DoD planned to tackle ongoing security concerns.

The strategy document acknowledges that commercial smartphones and tablets that operate using a variety of commercial systems offer a more cost-effective solution than pursuing DoD’s traditional course of developing custom hardware and software applications. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: An Army general was named Friday to head plans and policy at Cyber Command, based at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Maj. Gen. Jennifer Napper is moving from Fort Huachuca, where she headed Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, to Fort Meade, where she’ll be the director of plans and policy — staff section J-5 — for the inter-service Cyber Command. At Army NetCom, Napper helped consolidate the Army’s scattered email systems to a centralized “cloud” service called Enterprise Email, run by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Congress had ordered a halt to the migration over cost concerns but allowed it to resume in March. The outward and visible manifestation of this massive IT project has been the replacement of “@army.mil” addresses with “@mail.mil” ones. The deeper drivers, though, are cost savings and better security — the latter a particularly crucial issue in Napper’s new job at CyberCom. Keep reading →

The Navy and Marines have a network. The Army has its knowledge online. The Air Force wanted to be the cyber czar. The Joint Staff has a network. NSA has a really big network. And then there’s the Department of Homeland Security and everyone else in government. Everyone has a network.

How do you make them effective and protect them? One experienced network guy who thinks big thoughts for the Defense Information Systems Agency (fondly known as DISA) has a dream about all the military networks. He’d like to see “one IT infrastructure” for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Joint Staff. Tony Montemarano is DISA’s head of strategy and he was speaking before at least 1,000 people attending a lunch sponsored by AFCEA about DISA. Keep reading →

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