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CHIPS Articles: DISA increases Mission Partner Engagement Forum frequency

DISA increases Mission Partner Engagement Forum frequency
By DISA News - January 15, 2019
In a continuing effort to enhance collaboration and forge trusted partnerships, DISA’s Mission Partner Engagement Office (MPEO) is increasing the frequency of its customer engagement forum.

The forum is moving from a quarterly, half-day session to a 90-minute bi-monthly session, allowing the agency to ingest customer feedback in a timelier manner while at the same time keeping mission partners up-to-date on DISA’s programs and offerings.

“The customer engagement forum is an important venue for us to provide information to all the military departments, services, and agencies that use DISA programs and services,” said Army Col. Keith Chinn, chief of the MPEO.

Conducting the forum more frequently, with less of a time obligation for participants, is helping DISA gain a better understanding for warfighter needs and while also being less disruptive to the operational tempo.

“The more frequent meetings allow a more responsive environment and the shorter meetings fit better into [our] schedules,” said Dennis Knoop, chief technology officer with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM). “In the past, I would miss much of the content due to schedule conflicts.”

The first bi-monthly forum, hosted virtually from the DISA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, took place Dec. 13, with about 100 individuals from 32 organizations from across the globe joining the video-teleconference. Representatives from DISA and the Department of Defense (DoD) Chief Information Office covered a variety of topics, including DISA accreditation requirements, the DoD Mobility Program, the Public Key Infrastructure way ahead, DISA’s network-mapping tool, and an update from the Defense Information Systems Network Infrastructure Services Working Group.

As part of the network-mapping tool brief, Amanda Villwock, DISA’s chief of the Cyber Analytics Branch, provided an update on a global edge tracking system that discovers and monitors organizations edge assets across the internet to detect suspicious and non-compliant activity.

Attendees showed interest during the update and asked about the availability of the system across the DoD.

“The system looks to be a great improvement to enterprise network monitoring,” Knoop said. “I hope the DISA MPEO will look for an opportunity to expand the tool to combatant command networks.”

Mission partner feedback is how MPEO gauges interest in services and capabilities and initiates a more comprehensive dialogue with stakeholders.

“We appreciated the question about the network-mapping tool and will work with the vendor and our acquisition professionals to see what is possible in terms of expanding the capability,” Villwock said.

At the end of the meeting, Chinn thanked attendees and encouraged them to fill out a survey to help the MPEO improve the forum, to make suggestions on future topics, and to encourage interested information technology professionals from across the government to attend the next session.

“The dialogue with the mission partners during the session highlights the value of DISA’s MPEO forum,” Chinn said. “The open discussion with so many of the agency’s partners provides vital insight into their most compelling issues and will inform our path forward as we strive to help them achieve their mission set.”

For NORAD and NORTHCOM, the hope is that artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud will get even more attention in upcoming forums.

“The buzz words are AI and cloud, so I expect them to become more prevalent,” Knoop said. “I would also like a better understanding of how DISA’s initiatives align with the DoD CIO strategy and National Defense Strategy.

DISA’s MPEO is the agency’s principal mission partner representative. MPEO receives their requests, advocates for their issues, and provides a conduit for their feedback to the agency.

Mission partners can send suggestions on forum topics to disa.meade.bd.mbx.disa-customer-engagement-forum@mail.mil. Mission partners unable to attend the engagement forum can request a copy of the presentation slides.

The next forum is scheduled for January 24. To request an invitation, mission partners should contact disa.meade.bd.mbx.disa-customer-engagement-forum@mail.mil.

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