DISA upgrades teleconferencing

The Defense Information Systems Agency has taken another step toward helping military leaders and warfighters collaborate anywhere in the world using a new secure telecommunications network for conference calls.

Until now, teleconference calls and videocasts with multiple participants were extremely difficult for the Defense Department to engineer.

When military officials needed to communicate, they had to use a spotty infrastructure that stretched across thousands of miles of land and sea.

Communications were especially challenging during military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan because the infrastructure is even less reliable in those areas.

With the Defense Information Systems Network Video Services II (DVS II), DOD leaders and U.S. military commanders can more easily communicate with one another across continents.

DISA will use the new high-speed, fiber-optic network to provide up-to-the-second, IP-based audio and videoconferencing.

The network provides a backbone for video and teleconferencing, said Bob Miller, DVS II program manager at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, which is designing the network.

Since 1997, DISA has contracted with AT&T to use the company's video and teleconferencing network, which operates over telephone lines.

The eight-year, $125 million deal provided adequate capabilities for the military, but the system was stressed when it tried to connect DOD leaders and U.S. military forces located on different continents.

The new service will consist of a network operation center at a site in the United States and five hubs at locations worldwide.

"This program will provide DISA with a key set of tools to enhance DOD's net-centric operations capabilities by providing enhanced IP video and new collaboration resources to the warfighters," said Otto Guenther, vice president and general manager of the Tactical Systems Division at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.

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