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CHIPS Articles: DISA teams recognized with DoD CIO Award for airborne ISR platform and proactive planning in the Korean theater of operations

DISA teams recognized with DoD CIO Award for airborne ISR platform and proactive planning in the Korean theater of operations
By CHIPS Magazine - December 10, 2018
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (AISR) team was one of 20 teams and individuals presented with a 2018 Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Annual Award for Cyber and Information Technology (IT) Excellence.

The AISR team was recognized for its efforts to provide combatant commands with essential services and information transport to broadcast decisive command and control to the battlefield through a joint, rather than service-specific, AISR model, DISA announced in a release.

The awards ceremony, held Nov. 29 in the Pentagon auditorium, recognized individuals and teams within the DoD information technology community for exceptional achievements in delivering forward-leaning and strategically impactful technology capabilities and IT management practices.

“As you know, we have these four priorities that we have this incredible focus on from a technology standpoint,” said DoD CIO Dana Deasy, who presented the award. “And they are cloud; artificial intelligence; cyber; and command, control, and communications. … And of course we have this overarching thing called ‘reform and simplify the way we get stuff done across the Department of Defense.’ Every one of these [award winners] fits clearly into one of these buckets, and that just delights me to no end.”

The Unified Video Dissemination System (UVDS) portal contains thousands of hours of full motion video being provided by many unique mission feeds from airborne sensor platforms. A robust population of global visitors access the feeds monthly to obtain immediate awareness of the battlefield, DISA explained.

“Real-time information flow provides regional commanders with the ability to respond deliberately to new opportunities and threats, and ensures mission success while saving lives,” the citation read.

The citation also described how, through trusted partnerships, DISA’s AISR team closely aligned with Special Operations Command, Central Command and Africa Command. Those combatant commands served as early adopters and vocal supporters of the agency’s AISR plan, which aims to ensure secure and reliable information sharing and integrated information flows for U.S. and coalition mission partners, DISA reported.

DISA subject matter experts were determined to find ways to improve partnerships with allies and industry, ensuring successful mission execution in the face of cyber threats, while at the same time providing a DoD cloud computing environment, optimizing the department’s data center infrastructure, exploiting the power of trusted information sharing, and providing a resilient communications and network infrastructure, the citation reads.

The team received new resources to fully build out the capability for the CENTCOM theater, and is now planning for a similar effort in the Indo-Pacific Command region with satellite communication terminals, UVDS hubs, and other essential equipment and personnel.

The DoD CIO award validates the team’s effort to provide a globally interconnected and redundant SATCOM-based transport system that synchronizes and shares all information and data products.

Proactive Planning

A DISA joint planning group was awarded the 2018 DOD CIO) Annual Award for Cyber and Information Technology Excellence for its contributions to enhancing operational readiness in the Korean theater of operations in support of United States Forces Korea.

“The people in this room safeguard our most important secrets and maintain our infrastructure, creating defensive and offensive tools to protect our nation … And are navigating an unknown domain, which is the biggest challenge we face. … In 20, 30 years, people will be talking about the things that you did,” said Deasy, reading remarks prepared by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, who was unable to attend the ceremony in person.

Based on the potential threat posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea, DISA initiated an intra-agency collaboration to synchronize the agency’s resources and improve warfighting capabilities and command, control, communications, and computers capabilities (C4).

The group conducted analysis, reviewed planning guidance, identified capability gaps, proposed solutions, developed cost estimates, and, in several cases, gained senior leader approval to expedite funding toward surge capabilities.

The planning group’s effort resulted in identifying more than 20 DISA surge capabilities, and included several innovative capabilities that were delivered within five months of the planning effort.

According to the award citation, the team’s efforts represent a robust, “whole of agency” effort toward a precedent-setting Combatant Command Contingency Support Plan signed by the DISA director for execution when the mission dictates forces are required to operate and maintain critical, core C4 capabilities across the broad range of military operations.

The joint planning group provided direct support to United States Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, United States Indo-Pacific Command, and United States Forces Korea.

“The deployment of new capabilities create, extend and significantly enhance and improve mission effectiveness,” the citation reads.

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