Defense Connect Online hits milestone

Soldier using Defense Connect Online

The Defense Information Systems Agency’s digital collaboration tool Defense Connect Online on Feb. 20 clocked 1 million registered users, a milestone for the program.

DCO, which offers web conferences and other online collaboration platforms, is used on the DOD’s classified SIPRNet and unclassified NIPRNet. It is available to all DOD users with a common access card, and uses Adobe services.

The system’s virtual capabilities offer a cost-cutting alternative to in-person conferences, many of which were cancelled in the past two years after a conference-spending scandal at the General Services Administration and, more recently, a focus on reducing overhead spending at the Defense Department.

“As budgets have tightened and resulted in a need to more cost-effectively conduct meetings and training, DISA has witnessed Defense Connect Online usage grow,” Brett Swarz, Adobe public sector vice president, said via e-mail. “Virtual web conferencing is not just being used by select users, but also in some cases to replace entire physical conferences.”

That includes a March 2013 conference at the Naval Safety and Environmental Training Center, which shifted a 1,500 person training conference to a virtual event. The move to a virtual conference reduced event costs by 50 percent and resulted in savings of $1 million in travel and per diem costs, Swarz said.

The service also hosts more than 1 million chat messages per week, 50 million minutes of web conferencing per month and 315,000 web conferencing sessions per month, and has seen a 100 percent increase in concurrent usage from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2013, according to Adobe.

About the Author

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

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Reader comments

Mon, Feb 24, 2014 Mark

Kudos to DCO...great option and yes we need to be good stewards of Govt funds spent on travel and training. But let's not kid ourselves. For teaching purposes...there is no substitute to face to face physical onsite training. I would like to see a fair/unbiased article showing results comparing the two. Onsite Live training where you look the student in the eye...vs looking at a computer/camera hoping the other person has not been pulled away by the boss or is playing solitaire. When those knuckleheads at GSA created that debacle...they had no idea what they did to the quality of training offered by those of us who deeply care about our Warfighters and their training needs to do a hard job during wartime!. I don't want to knock down DCO...I like DCO in some instances...but let's not kid ourselves...there IS an elephant in the room. I hear complaints all the time from students and instructors alike. It really don't matter what my opinion is...what matters is the bottom line...I just don't want our Warfighters needs when it comes to training to be watered down cause everyone thinks DCO is the next best thing. I think our Warfighters deserve much better than the "next best thing".

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