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CHIPS Articles: 4 things mission and industry partners need to know about DISA

4 things mission and industry partners need to know about DISA
By DISA News - June 16, 2017
DISA Executive Deputy Director Tony Montemarano continued his annual tradition of presenting a DISA familiarization workshop proceeding the official opening of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium on June 13.

"The purpose of this session, DISA 103, is to help you understand the agency," said Montemarano. "What is absolutely critical to us, as an agency, is that you know what we are doing and who is doing what."

DISA and JFHQ-DODIN have a common leader, different responsibilities

DISA and the Joint Force Headquarters — DOD Information Networks (JFHQ-DODIN) — have a common leader, Army LTG Alan R. Lynn.

As DISA's director, Lynn reports to the DOD chief information officer, Dr. John Zangardi.

As the commander of JFHQ-DODIN, he reports to Navy ADM Michael Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency (NSA), and chief of the Central Security Service.

"DISA is responsible for deploying, building, operating, and defending the DISA global infrastructure," explained Montemarano, "while JFHQ-DODIN is responsible for commanding and controlling the larger DODIN."

Leadership changes on the horizon

Montemarano highlighted three leadership changes that will be in effect by the end of the fiscal year:

-- Navy RADM Nancy A. Norton will be assigned as the next vice director of DISA, replacing Air Force Maj Gen Sarah E. Zabel.
-- Air Force Maj Gen Robert J. Skinner will be departing JFHQ-DODIN at the end of June. The next deputy commander of the JFHQ-DODIN will be Navy RDML Kathleen M. Creighton.

-- Army COL Joel Lindeman, currently commander of the DISA Command Center, will assume the role of DISA Chief of Staff, replacing Army COL Mark Rosenstein, whose retirement ceremony took place June 9.

Recent changes to the DISA organizational structure

In 2015, DISA went through a reorganization dividing the agency into five categories: the command staff, the 5th Estate (consisting of principle and special staff), the Development and Business Center, the Resources Management Center, and the Operations Center.

"The [DISA] structure has basically been stable for a year and a half, which might be a record," joked Montemarano when outlining the responsibilities of each category.

He pointed out a few updates to the organizational structure.

-- The Command Cyber Readiness Inspections for the DODIN are changing to Command Cyber Operational Readiness Inspections — focusing on a threat-based, risk-based assessment versus a compliance-based assessment. The CCORI effort is led by Jimaye Sones, director of the DODIN Readiness and Security Inspections Directorate, part of the 5th Estate.
-- Mark Hakun, an NSA executive, has been appointed as the director of the National Background Investigation System (NBIS), part of the 5th estate.
-- Starting in October, DISA will assume a formal role in providing desktop support for the Pentagon, a role known as "Joint Service Provider." Air Force Brig Gen Brian T. Dravis will lead the effort.
-- John Hickey is now the cyber development executive within the Development and Business Center and is responsible for the DISA cyber portfolio, which consists of mobility, cybersecurity, public key infrastructure/enablement, Joint Regional Security Stacks, NetOps, and software defined networking.
-- The way DISA manages the former Defense Enterprise Computing Centers (DECCs) has changed. The agency now operates under the "Computing Ecosystem" model.

Continuing to innovate

DISA has three initiatives — cloud, cyber defense, and mobility – that affect almost all of its projects and are continuously evolving.

"Cyber defense is a major factor. Everything we do, is being influenced by cyber defense and then we are really hitting hard on mobility," stated Montemarano. "Every development activity has to show a mobile side to it."

Assured identity and software defined everything are also major focus areas, as noted in DISA Director Army LTG Alan Lynn's keynote remarks at the event.

"We have to get out of the box mentality we have been in over the years and get into a broader and more flexible environment," said Montemarano in conclusion.

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