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CHIPS Articles: DON IT Teams Accelerate Modernization Efforts

DON IT Teams Accelerate Modernization Efforts
By Sharon Anderson - April-June 2020

Hope you are doing well in the trying times we are living in today. It’s been said you can tell the true grit of individuals in how they respond to a crisis. It is certainly true of the IT Teams across the Department of the Navy, Defense Department, Air Force and Army. They have demonstrated what unity of effort, determination, innovation and decisive actions can do to ensure operational readiness and mission execution.

To paraphrase the words of the Pacific Fleet Commander, as a department, we are Lethal, Agile and Underway. This includes the supporting shore IT infrastructure.

When the DoD directed maximum telework to minimize the spread of the coronavirus and nonessential commercial businesses and recreational venues were told to close, unfortunately, many were left flatfooted and indecisive on what to do next.

Not the DON IT Teams! They sprang into action doubling network capacity from 20 GB to 41 GB, increased the capacity for using Outlook Web Access (OWA) for email access from 10,000 users to 300,000, and increased Remote Access Service (RAS) capacity for the full desktop experience, from 25,000 to 123,000 users, as DON CIO Aaron Weis explains in his column for this issue.

“The Navy also implemented collaboration capabilities using Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) Microsoft Teams, increasing from 700,000 provisioned Navy accounts to almost 105,000 active Navy accounts.

“Likewise, the Marine Corps quickly expanded the Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN) telework capacity and capability. The number of teleworkers in the Marine Corps increased from 1,000 users to 51,000. VPN capacity increased from 12,500 users to 60,000 and OWA capacity increased from 70,000 to 105,000. Additionally, the Marine Corps accelerated Office 365 deployment from 1,000 users to 25,000,” Mr. Weis wrote.

Senior leadership established IT policies that amplified cybersecurity guidance for teleworkers and broke down barriers that could have prevented productivity.

In sum, the cyber/IT community ensure a digital warfighting platform that Sailors, Marines, leaders and civilian personnel can leverage anytime and anywhere — all while working under the necessary COVID-19 limitations.

One new feature that my team has particularly enjoyed is the deployment of MS Teams for chat, virtual meetings, training and collaboration. We have embraced these new capabilities to the max with a feeling of connection and camaraderie never felt before. Talking to folks across the DON, I’m told it has been a popular addition to their capabilities as well.

In other pockets of the DON and DoD, personnel are producing shields, masks and other protective gear using 3-D printing technologies to maintain operational readiness.

As the DON CIO says, let’s continue the momentum to Modernize, Innovate and Defend the DON’s IT infrastructure and networks. We are all in this together.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to those on the frontlines, not only military service members, but health care professionals, grocery store and delivery service personnel, law enforcement and local, state and federal agency personnel and all others who work so we can safely stay home and telework.

Welcome new e-subscribers!
Sharon Anderson

Sharon Anderson is the CHIPS senior editor. She can be reached at

Cover photo: Marine with Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command works in the cyber operations center at Fort Meade, Md., Feb. 5, 2020. Photo by Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jacob Osborne
NNSY's Sail Loft has begun making facemasks to further ensure the health and safety of workforce personnel, with a capacity to produce up to 900 daily. COVID-19 specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been distributed to the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) and USS San Francisco (SSN 711) projects. (Photo by Danny De Angelis, NNSY Photographer/RELEASED)
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and RSS Steadfast (FFS 70) sail in the South China Sea. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brenton Poyser)
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