Air Force won’t join DKO until 2009

The Air Force has decided not to join the departmentwide Defense Knowledge Online (DKO) Web portal for at least two years, opting instead to invest more money in its own portal, according to the service's chief information officer.

The Air Force portal is part of the Global Combat Support System-Air Force system, and Lt. Gen. Michael Peterson said he believes GCSS-AF is better suited to help the Air Force perform its mission based on its priorities, design and architecture.

“We’ve already migrated many of our systems to [GCSS-AF],” said Peterson, speaking to reporters at the Air Force Information Technology Day that AFCEA’s Northern Virginia chapter sponsored Jan. 17.

The Air Force drives down the cost of maintaining legacy systems by using GCSS-AF’s technical framework and the service continues to build new systems to that model, he said.

If the Air Force were to shift to DKO now and take on some of its costs, the service would be paying for capabilities it does not need, Peterson said.

However, it is only a temporary problem, because the current GCSS-AF contract ends in two years, he said. At that point, DKO, which is managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency, should be entering the next phase of its procurement, creating the opportunity for a departmentwide contract around 2009. “Don’t be surprised if there’s a larger contract that incorporates all of these,” Peterson said.

“Until that contract comes out, we are not going to move to DKO. We can’t,” he said. “We already have a contract with GCSS-AF that delivers that capability.”

DISA hopes to make DKO the single Internet point of entry for DOD’s 4 million-plus computer users. Last year, DISA officials decided to adopt the infrastructure of the Army’s Army Knowledge Online (AKO) portal, based on its success in managing more than 1.8 million users, and expand it to all four military services.

But the Air Force and Navy remain hesitant to join the DKO effort. The Air Force portal is the second largest Web portal in the world, serving about 800,000 government and contractor personnel.

AKO is currently operating under two contracts, a development contract led by Lockheed Martin and worth $156 million and a maintenance contract awarded to CherryRoad Technologies. DISA has been contributing funds to DKO development using money from its Net-Centric Enterprise Services contract vehicle.

Under the terms of the Lockheed contract, the AKO program office can only spend money to service users in the Army, DISA and Joint Forces Command. Therefore, the Air Force and the Navy, which operates through the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, would have to pay for their own migration onto DKO.

But no Air Force or Navy money has been allotted to this effort thus far.

AKO and DKO officials were not able to respond to questions by deadline.

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