Defense bill threatens data center, enterprise e-mail efforts

DOD data center consolidation, enterprise email plans at risk in authorization legislation

Provisions in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act could hamper ongoing Defense Department efforts to consolidate data centers and move to a cloud-based enterprise e-mail program hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

The legislation calls on DOD CIO Teri Takai to provide comprehensive reporting on data center consolidation efforts, savings and in particular performance, including the use of commercial technologies.

According to the bill, DOD must migrate its data from government-administered cloud services, such as those currently being provided by the Defense Information Systems Agency, and instead use private-sector offerings “that provide a better capability at a lower cost with the same or greater degree of security.”


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The bill also strips fiscal 2012 funding from the Army’s enterprise e-mail program pending a report from the Army secretary detailing acquisition strategy and showing that fair competition was used in the implementation of the enterprise e-mail program, on which the Army has been working with DISA for more than a year.

The legislation also orders the Army to designate its enterprise e-mail program as a major acquisition program and provide formal oversight, and mandates an assessment by the Army Audit Agency to determine cost savings from any alternatives to the current DISA-led program.

Takai must also provide Congress with an analysis of the potential for the Army and DISA’s program to be used across DOD, and of how the other services are administering e-mail services. Additionally, proof of fair and open competition will be required in her report, due within six months of NDAA’s enactment.

The legislation appears to be in direct conflict with DOD’s recent announcement of a “DISA first” strategy that would make DISA the go-to resource for enterprise IT services.

So far, DOD has shuttered at least 55 data centers under consolidation plans, and at a Dec. 16 briefing Army CIO/G-6 Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence said 300,000 accounts have been migrated to enterprise e-mail. The migration of more than 1.5 million accounts is expected to be complete in spring 2012. It’s not clear if the NDAA’s provisions would affect those efforts.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

Reader comments

Fri, Jan 13, 2012

The issue is this. During the initial phases costs of outsourcing is always lower than government costs, otherwise they could never get you to switch. They are even willing to take a loss for a number of years just to make sure they get the work. But when the honeymoon is over, costs increase to the point they are higher than what the government could have done it for, only now they've lost the ability and resources to 'in-source' the effort. Seen it happen with the big push in the 80's. Only when the costs skyrocket and the security is found lacking (Breach) will someone one wake up, only then it will be to late. But some how it will still be the government, not the contractors fault.

Wed, Jan 4, 2012

This is truly hilarious. On one hand congress demands consolidation efforts to curb cost, on the other hand congress doesn't allow DOD to do what is prudent by placing DOD data in the hands of its security and network provider (DISA). Once again the kronie lobby groups are influencing DOD over the brilliant minds who have a vested interest in keeping our military safe. Commercial Hosting of DOD data is not an option because there is no trust. Give it up Microsoft you are not going to win this!

Tue, Jan 3, 2012

There are many pros and cons to the solutions offered. However, if the information be comes the "proprietary" property of the contract side, such as the NMCI contract was, a contractual provider service is NOT acceptable. With no insight of the contractor's connected systems, other network connections, and non-US cleared individuals working throughout their company, there is a threat. Enough UNCLAS data can sometimes provide a good picture of the CLASSIFIED side of things in the military. Security before beans is not a bad idea.

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 Hikergrl

So Takai's been on-board for a year...other than publicize plans and not submit required reports, what has Terri accomplished?

Fri, Dec 23, 2011

One of the biggest advantages of Cloud Computing is the cost savings achieved by outsourcing your requirements to a commercial entity that can take advantage of economies of scale. So, the DoD's solution to adopting Cloud Computing is to build their own Cloud at DISA. Anyone see any problems with this strategy?

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