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CHIPS Articles: DISA engages partners in ‘virtual’ Forecast to Industry 2020

DISA engages partners in ‘virtual’ Forecast to Industry 2020
By Marco Villasana, DISA Strategic Communication and Public Affairs - December 8, 2020
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s present and future industry partners joined the agency for a virtual Forecast to Industry 2020 Thursday, Dec. 3.

This annual event provides industry representatives with in-depth information about the agency’s upcoming acquisition and procurement plans, and offers a forum to collaborate with DISA in defense of the nation.

The theme for this year’s event, “60 Years of Service: Ensuring Warfighter-Industry Partnerships,” refers to DISA, mission partners and industry working together to help achieve the agency’s no-fail mission to connect and protect the warfighter in cyberspace while empowering operations and increasing lethality across every warfighting domain.

DISA Director and Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network Commander Navy Vice Adm. Nancy A. Norton’s opening remarks expressed her appreciation for these engagements, and new and continuing partnerships.

“This year, industry helped us to maintain mission readiness while confronting a global health crisis and ensuring the Department of Defense is prepared to operate in an era of great power competition,” she said. “Since our mission is so critical, we emphasize building a high-trust culture at DISA that extends to the way we engage with mission partners and industry at all levels.”

She then took time to highlight some of DISA’s progress over the past year.

“DISA has worked with telecommunications service providers and leveraged the National Security and Emergency Preparedness Process to rapidly deliver nearly 100 critical communications circuits,” said Norton. “Agility, tenacity and ingenuity are hallmarks of the U.S. military.

Today, we have the greatest military in the history of the world because we are able to quickly respond to and overcome any threat our nation confronts … visible or invisible.”

She mentioned the annual refresh of DISA’s Strategic Plan, how it captures potential adjustments and the focus on priorities in the future, and thanked industry partners for their support.

“The information technology solutions that we provide to the warfighter have never been more important and that is why our work with you is critical. We face great power competitors who seek to diminish American influence around the world and to erode the trust and confidence of our citizens in our government,” she said. “Through our ‘adopt before we buy and buy before we create’ strategy that prioritizes use of existing solutions, scaled to meet DoD needs, industry has enabled us to be agile and responsive for our nation. I would like to thank you all for being so flexible this year and working through this pandemic to provide us with the tools our warfighters need.”

In closing, Norton explained the importance of understanding the relationships with mission partners and industry, and why they’re essential.

“As an industry partner, I need you to also keep simplicity, scalability and interoperability in mind when working with DISA. When you think about scale, think about a global network that enables U.S. military operations across land, air, sea, space and cyberspace,” she said. “Operating and defending cyberspace is the ultimate team endeavor … and every day, industry plays a critical role in that.”

DISA’s Assistant to the Director Army Maj. Gen. Garrett Yee then praised industry support in enabling the agency’s ability to provide pier-side internet circuits for two U.S. Navy hospital ships while they provided assistance to civilian healthcare workers during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He introduced Procurement Services Executive and Chief of the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization Douglas Packard who provided insight on the selection of this year’s theme.

“We took deliberate time choosing the theme and didn’t say establish or maintain, we said ensure because the definition of ensure is to make certain, and at DISA we make certain that we can be the trusted partner and trusted provider for the warfighter, because sometimes it is us who provide them connectivity to the world, and we take that very seriously,” he said.

Yee and Packard then joined for a Q&A, with Packard answering questions about work accomplishments, contracting and trusted partnerships.

Presentations continued throughout the morning and into the afternoon including contract briefings from Commercial Satellite Communications, Joint Service Provider, the Development and Business Center and the Operations Center.

The Office of Small Business Programs also provided a briefing and a DISA fiscal year 2021 contracting overview.

Forecast to Industry presentations are available from the Forecast to Industry webpage.

Defense Information Systems Agency Director and Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network Commander, Navy Vice Adm. Nancy A. Norton provides opening remarks for Forecast to Industry 2020 Thursday, Dec. 3.
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