Army rethinks governing IT policies, networks

Plans to rescind existing network policies, shutter AKO part of broader transformation

The Army is rescinding existing network policies and reconsidering its numerous, disparate IT networks as part of broader plans for transforming the way it communicates and operates, according to a top Army official.

“Some of [these policies] are antiquated, some are contradictive – they’re all being rescinded as we speak,” said Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, Army CIO/G-6, who said the duplicative policies will be scrapped in favor of two overarching policies that govern Army IT network operations. Lawrence spoke July 14 at a briefing held by the Association of the U.S. Army in Arlington, Va.

“There are policies out there that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on,” she said.

The new policies are currently under consideration and would replace multiple-directive policies typically rewritten every five years; instead, the new policies would get rewrites every year.

“That’s our playbook, that’s how we’re going to fight [with] the network,” Lawrence said.

To support the move toward streamlined network operations, the Army is also re-evaluating its use of separate IT networks for different Army components – including Army Knowledge Online (AKO), the online portal widely used by service members and their families and retirees.

As Federal Computer Week previously reported, the Army plans to phase out AKO and replace it with the enterprise e-mail system being developed and implemented.

“There are multiple networks out there – AKO is just one. AKO is a great network; we’re looking into all the disparate networks to collapse into the enterprise,” Lawrence said. “It’s too costly to operate all these networks out there doing the same thing. We can’t afford to do that anymore.”

When asked about how the potential shutdown of AKO would affect the Defense Departmentwide Defense Knowledge Online, Lawrence said she is uncertain about the relationship between the two systems but the situation is being explored

Other key parts of the network transformation strategy include the move to implement single identifications for Army users, rather than multiple email addresses and accounts, that use fine-grain authentication and access controls, Lawrence said. Establishing a comprehensive common operating picture that includes stringent, enterprisewide technical standards is also critical to the transformation, she noted.

“It’s about getting access to data … we have to get agile IT access,” Lawrence said.

About the Author

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

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Fri, Jul 22, 2011

Having separate networks and individual policies is a thing of the past. To have robust network security requires sacrifices, but also means everyone is operating from the same playbook.

Wed, Jul 20, 2011

It is easy for people to DISA bash (or any other organization) with general comments when they can be anonymous and do not have to back it up with facts. 

Mon, Jul 18, 2011

I've worked with DISA before, good luck. They become very expensive and unresponsive to customer needs quickly.

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 ID Maryland

It's a bit unsettling when the G6 refers to a portal (AKO) as network. Discusses single "identification" (whatever that means) in the era of single sign on with CAC and common us.army.mil (now mail.mil) email addresses. And she needs a briefing on AKO and DKO, so she'd realize they are closely tied. Meanwhile, the "agile" enterprise email from DISA continues as the largest single denial of service attack on the Army.

Thu, Jul 14, 2011

Agile ... ha. It takes 2 weeks to get an e-mail account from DISA and when you do it takes 60 seconds to pull up an e-mail. Saving money does no good when the C2 system don't work

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above