Defense

Marine Corps to expedite Windows 10 upgrade

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The Marine Corps Systems Command is expediting its timeline for full deployment of the Windows 10 operating system. According to an April 5 announcement by MCSC, the Corps-wide upgrades should be completed by January 2017.

The transition reflects Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work's Feb. 26 memo that calls for a rapid deployment to Windows 10.  MCSC said the accelerated transition will cut costs and improve cybersecurity well before the projected January 2020 end of support date for the Windows 7 operating system.

"Implementing Windows 10 service-wide has been on our radar for some time," Michael Cirillo, MCSC's cyber lead, said in the announcement. "The compressed timeline just speeds up the process for full implementation, making us more secure sooner."

The Department of Defense, National Security Agency, Defense Information Systems Agency and U.S. Cyber Command are all "looking for the best solutions to implement this change and realize the benefits from doing so," he continued.

The Corps piloted a 30-day trial with some 500 test users of the MCSC-developed software image for Windows 10.  The testing took place at four sites, one of which was Marine Corps Headquarters.

The MSCS will assess the results of the trial in finalizing the upgrade's accreditation, and will develop new specifications for what constitutes a Windows 10-capable computer.  Machines will then be upgraded or replaced where necessary.

The new timeline means doing three years' worth of upgrades in six months, according to Marine Corps Network and Infrastructure Services Jeff Lee. "With the accelerated timeline we're expecting to upgrade more than 50,000 classified and unclassified devices in FY16," he said.  

The DOD-wide upgrade to Windows 10 will include around 4 million devices, including desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Former DOD assistant deputy chief management officer David Wennergren told FCW in February that, although the department could conceivably complete the transition to Windows 10 in a single year, implementation would likely be uneven across DOD components.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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