DOD widens access to collaboration program

Move represents a step forward in military's transformation efforts

The Defense Department’s online collaborative tool, previously accessible only to those holding DOD Common Access Cards, is now also open to sponsored non-DOD personnel serving as mission partners.

The move to open Defense Connect Online to government agencies and employees outside DOD marks a step forward in the departmentwide transformation effort to foster better cooperation through social-media engagement and virtualization.

According to the new policy, government employees with .gov e-mail addresses who are sponsored by CAC holders may take advantage of DCO’s tools, which include Web conferencing, chat, video, application and desktop sharing, and voice-over-IP capabilities.

According to the Defense Information Systems Agency, which operates DCO within its Net-Centric Enterprise Services, sponsored accounts may be initiated by any nonsponsored DCO account holder, most of whom are DOD personnel with a CAC. A sponsored account remains valid for a year, and the sponsor can renew it at any time.

Previously, DOD partners who are integral to a mission or project can access DCO’s Web conferences. The move to broaden access facilitates greater use of DCO’s virtual workspace capabilities.

“Our DOD customers have increasing needs to collaborate with non-DOD mission partners,” said Col. Brian Hermann, program manager of Defense Collaboration Services for the Air Force. "We are now allowing our DOD users to sponsor mission partners from other U.S. government agencies to give them confidence in the identity of their mission partners during Web conferences and to enable new users to participate."

About the Author

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

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