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CHIPS Articles: DISA Director Army Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn retires; Navy Rear Adm. Nancy Norton assumes command

DISA Director Army Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn retires; Navy Rear Adm. Nancy Norton assumes command
By CHIPS Magazine - January 29, 2018
“When you really get to see the breadth of what DISA does for the nation — not just in DoD, but across the nation — it’s awe-inspiring,” said Army Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) director and Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DoDIN) commander who will retire from active duty with more than 38 years of service on Feb. 2.

Lynn has served as the DISA director and JFHQ-DoDIN commander since July 2015. He also served as the DISA vice director from September 2013 to July 2015, and the DISA chief of staff from July 2007 to October 2008, according to a DISA release.

“I think [from when I first served at DISA to now] we have a much sharper focus on the customer,” he said. “The agency wasn’t designed back then to support customers as well as it is now.”

The agency’s current structure better supports customers because there is one person who is responsible for each area — business and development, operations, and resource management — and because of the implementation of the mission partner engagement model, said Lynn.

As a result customer satisfaction has improved among its stakeholders.

Lynn noted three projects he was especially proud of: development of DISA’s civilian workforce, advancing the Defense Department’s mobility capabilities, and the stand up of JFHQ-DoDIN.

DISA’s Civilian Workforce Agility, Mobility, and Development Program, created in 2016, encourages employees to explore different career opportunities within the agency through voluntary lateral reassignment.

“People are the base to anything we do. If you don’t get the people part right, it’s hard to get anything else right,” said Lynn, who also reminded the workforce, “The only one that can limit you is you and your belief in yourself.”

“From the technical side, we’ve done some amazing things,” he said. “From my perspective, I think we’ve changed the world. Our little corner of it.”

Lynn spoke about the agency’s recent advances in mobility, which include piloting a top-secret voice capability, expanding classified capabilities from smartphones to tablets, and significantly reducing service rates for more than 100,000 monthly users.

“It won’t be long before mobile devices we have built are routinely used on the tactical side,” he said.

As the commander of JFHQ-DoDIN, Lynn brought the organization, which was stood up in January 2015, to full operational capability this month.

“The members of Joint Force Headquarters — DoDIN are the warfighters using the cybersecurity apparatus DISA has built to actually maneuver and change the way we’re responding to the threat,” Lynn said.

He compared the JFHQ-DoDIN to surveyors responsible for defining areas of responsibility in cyberspace and holding the appropriate parties accountable for defense in their space.

The general expects DISA to run all enterprise-level information technology services and cloud computing for the department — and all joint IT to the desktop. He also foresees DISA creating a new identity management solution to replace common access cards, and JFHQ-DODIN securing networks “better than anyone in the world.”

“Commitment to an ideal — not a person, not a thing — that’s what makes our nation what we are. That’s what makes us the greatest nation in the world.”

Lynn will transfer directorship of DISA and command of the Joint Force Headquarters — DoD Information Network (JFHQ-DoDIN) to Navy Rear Adm. Nancy Norton during a Feb. 1 ceremony at the agency’s headquarters on Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

Rear Adm. Nancy Norton
Rear Adm. Nancy Norton
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