DISA claims lead in defense IT

Defense Information Systems Agency Web site

As the transformation of the Defense Department's communications and information technology moves forward, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks, Information and Integration could take a back seat to the Defense Information Systems Agency, according to one of DOD's top information technology officials.

"Last year, we were more front and center in the vision business," said Priscilla Guthrie, DOD's deputy chief information officer, speaking at the Telestrategies Federal Networks 2004 conference. "But this is DISA's year. DISA will take the lead, and DISA has got to make this work."

Transforming the department's communications and data networks is the IT cornerstone of DOD's modernization efforts. Projects such as the Joint Tactical Radio System, Network Centric Enterprise Services, and the Global Information Grid — Bandwidth Expansion are in progress, and DISA is taking the lead on the rollout.

Part of DISA's expanding role was announced late last year, when DISA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege announced the agency would restructure to better align with DOD's emerging transformation and network-centric goals. Earlier this month, Army Maj. Gen. Marilyn Quagliotti, DISA's vice director, announced the agency is launching an office to oversee some of DOD's joint IT acquisitions.

"We've learned that we need to adjust our organization to take into account the new challenges ahead," Quagliotti said before a House Armed Services subcommittee. "One of those, we think, is the ability for the department to have a joint acquisition organization. As a result of lessons we've learned and direction from our civilian leadership, we are reorganizing to establish a joint acquisition organization as part of our agency."

In late September, Raduege announced DISA was reorganizing itself to better align with network-centric goals.

"We will now have an organizational structure that positions us to be the Department of Defense's provider of end-to-end global net-centric solutions," Raduege said.

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