The Defense Information Systems Agency is prepared to provide warfighting capability to the military services, combatant commands, agencies, and allies in the multi-domain conflicts of the future, DISA Director and Joint Force Headquarters – Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DoDIN) Commander Navy Vice Adm. Nancy A. Norton said in Baltimore May 14.
Norton spoke before an audience of more than 5,000 military members, Department of Defense civilians, and representatives from industry attending the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, which continues through May 16.
“The return of great power competition is real, and we have already seen its impact in the information domain,” said Norton. “Nations around the world are accelerating their efforts in cyber, artificial intelligence, spectrum, and other capabilities to challenge our military and national security, and potentially change the international order.”
Her assessment of the international political landscape echoes the National Defense Strategy and Joint Vision 2020, which anticipate potential adversaries will evolve and adapt their own military strategies and technologies in an effort to compete for economic growth, military power, and global influence.
“Looking forward, we have to prepare for a multi-domain battle, with an increased emphasis on cyberwarfare, and understand the impact it will have on our country,” said Norton. “Every sector relies on cyberspace, so the Defense Department must adopt a competitive mindset to achieve the resiliency and innovation our military needs in order to accomplish our mission and respond to national security threats.”
The admiral, who serves as the dual-hatted leader of DISA and JFHQ-DoDIN, emphasized both organizations rely on industry to provide information technology and cybersecurity solutions to support their missions and counter evolving threats in the cyber domain.
“Through persistent engagement, government and industry can partner our research and expertise to develop innovative technology, services, and capabilities to pace the threat of our cyberspace adversaries,” said Norton.
Norton emphasized the need for what she calls “trusted partnerships” with industry. She said trusted partners are clear about a technology’s true capabilities, honest and transparent about the scope and scale of a solution, and good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
The agency seeks to collaborate with companies that incorporate cybersecurity into services and capabilities from inception, as well as those who proactively manage supply chain risks – including those introduced by subcontractors, she said.
DISA is also seeking to bolster its cyber workforce now and in the coming months. The agency is stepping up recruiting efforts, and currently has positions at its headquarters on Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, and in locations around the world advertised on USAJobs.gov.
Norton invited event participants to consider joining the agency, and to share opportunities with their family members and professional networks.
“I, and the forces I lead, and all of the individuals and organizations who support us must be prepared to fight and win in cyberspace,” she said.