During the “DISA 102” workshop that preceded the official opening of the 2016 Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium, the agency’s executive deputy director, Tony Montemarano, focused on giving the audience an understanding of how DISA continues to evolve in support of the nation’s warfighters.
“If you don’t understand DISA’s mission and vision, you don’t understand DISA,” said Montemarano. “We are focused on information technology (IT); we are an IT combat support agency.”
DISA is a global organization of more than 1,300 active duty military personnel; 7,600 federal civilians; and approximately 7,000 support contractors operating an $11 billion business annually. With a presence in 18 states and eight countries, the agency operates DOD’s global IT infrastructure, supporting everyone from “the private to the president.”
As DISA’s director, Army LTG Alan Lynn reports to the DOD chief information officer, Terry Halvorsen. But as the dual-hatted commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-DOD Information Networks (JFHQ-DODIN), he reports to Navy ADM Michael Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command. DISA and JFHQ-DODIN build and support the DOD enterprise infrastructure and protect and defend the DODIN, respectively.
Like many technology organizations, DISA continues to evolve and expand its scope to take on new mission sets. Montemarano outlined several changes set to take effect May 1.
- Recently, DISA assumed responsibility for the replacement of the Office of Personnel Management’s background investigation infrastructure, an initiative that will be spearheaded by Martin Gross.
- The agency has also created a new Cyber Directorate, which will be led by John Hickey. This office will have direct control over the development of cyber technologies and manage the agency’s cyber portfolio, including public key infrastructure solutions; the Joint Regional Security Stacks, which Montemarano called the “biggest single thing we are working on;” network operations efforts; and software defined networking.
- The Defense Collaboration Services (DCS) and Global Video Services (GVS) programs, responsible for delivering DOD’s Web conferencing and video teleconferencing capabilities, will be aligned in the same division so that the capabilities can evolve synergistically. There will also be more focus on the Defense Enterprise Office System (DEOS), DISA’s planned unified capabilities service.
In conclusion, Montemarano outlines the six areas DISA is focused on for the future: cyber and cyber defense, assured identity, mobility, cloud, and software defined networking.
“The only way we’re going to support the men and women who go in harm’s way every day is to work together,” he said.