DISA asks industry for help with new priorities

One of the biggest technology demands the Defense Department faces today is being able to easily share information with coalition partners, according to John Garing, the Defense Information Systems Agency’s director of strategic planning.

Emerging Web-based and cloud-computing technologies will likely help address that challenge, Garing said.

Information sharing is only one of DOD's evolving needs. The department is looking to industry to help find ways to meet them, Garing said at an industry forecast DISA hosted Aug. 7.

“When responding to requests for proposals and requests for information, think about what we are trying to do and how to do it in a new way,” Garing said.

DISA wants an information technology structure similar to Amazon Web Services, where users can gain access to the infrastructure on demand in a do-it-yourself fashion. Users should not have to worry about the IT infrastructure behind their monitors, Garing said.

“It is about data being on the network and users not caring where the data is,” he said. “The software knows where the data is.”

DISA also wants to make more Internet Protocol services available to troops in combat operations, said David Mihelcic, the agency’s chief technology officer. That means the department needs new and innovative ways to plug into the Global Information Grid.

DISA also wants to take a more enterprise approach across all the services. So, for example, rather than each service having its own identification and authentication system, all the services will share a common system, Mihelcic said.

Collaboration is another service that should be offered enterprisewide, he said.

Forge.mil, a family of services for developing open-source solution for the DOD, is example of the enterprisewide, on-demand services DISA wants to continue to develop, Mihelcic said.

Another example is the Rapid Access Computing Environment that lets DOD officials customize, purchase and receive computing platforms within 24 hours. Prior to RACE, provision the same services often would take months, Mihelcic said.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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