Enterprise e-mail's departmentwide future uncertain

DOD CIO: I'm not going to mandate migration

As the Army resumes account migrations under its enterprise e-mail effort after an operational pause, the likelihood of the service eventually including the other military branches appears to be questionable.

The decision is being left to the individual services, some of which have publicly doubted the value of moving their e-mail programs to a cloud service offered by the Defense Information Systems Agency, as the Army is doing.

Defense Department CIO Teri Takai won’t mandate a DOD-wide migration to the DISA-led effort, she said today at the DISA Customer and Industry Forum in Baltimore.

“I can’t mandate [that] other services join enterprise e-mail,” Takai said in a discussion with reporters. “My preference, rather than going to a mandate, is getting to the point where the services see the value in it. One of the tricky things about information technology implementation, unlike some weapons systems, is that it’s as much about customer experience and the way people feel about their technologies as it is about the technology. Otherwise, these migrations would be pretty easy."

And although the rest of DOD might not join the Army in the DISA-facilitated enterprise e-mail program, Takai said the specific means of getting to an enterprisewide system are less important than the reasons behind it.

“Enterprise e-mail doesn’t mean everybody goes to DISA,” Takai said. “What it does mean is we have to get to a common identity management structure, and we have to get to a common directory structure. We have to be able to collaborate. That’s really the infrastructure that is critical here. That’s the architecture we’re looking at now.”

She added that she hopes the e-mail service will speak for itself as the rest of DOD closely watches the Army’s implementation.

“My preference is to work through the technical-details level to get to our end objective because sometimes when you do that, you don’t have to dictate,” Takai said. “It’s not about a power struggle for me. It’s about getting to the right answer, which is the ability for everyone to collaborate.”

About the Author

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

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