DISA continues internal consolidation

Shutterstock image: illuminated connections between devices.

The latest iteration of the Defense Information Systems Agency's reorganization is already paying efficiency dividends, according to Center for Operations Director David Bennett.

He told industry representatives at the AFCEA NOVA Joint Warfighter IT Day that consolidating the Implementation and Sustainment Center with the Center for Operations earlier this year broke down an artificial barrier that had been interrupting the technology chain.

"Now that we have converged those two centers into one, I have responsibility from the implementation and provision of the capability all the way through to day-to-day operation of the capability," he said.

That means a shorter response time to problems in the field. "Now you don't have multiple organizations affecting the prioritization of things, so if there is a priority of needs, now essentially it just comes to me," Bennett said.

He cited the example of a recent network outage. Under the old regime, he would have had to work across multiple divisions to pull together people who didn't necessarily have the same priorities or want to coordinate on solving the problem. Now he can make a few phone calls and find a solution.

DISA's reorganization began in January 2015 under then-Director Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins. The goal was to streamline an agency long criticized by industry and government as being slow to deliver and too expensive.

Now there are two primary points of contact for DISA. Alfred Rivera is director of the Development and Business Center, and Bennett handles "anything that has electricity flowing through it that DISA has responsibility for," he said.

In addition to having broader authority over personnel, Bennett also has greater budget authority, which means he has become a "much higher dollar value target" when it comes to industry.

"Because I'm sort of that target, I can turn around and say, 'Look, I'm expecting price point savings here, I'm expecting volume discounting,'" he said.

His other message to industry was to take the time to understand his needs and mission. He told attendees that if the onus is on him to determine how their capabilities will help DISA, he will get it wrong.

"We do not do well at managing requirements, we don't understand our requirements, and if we do, our requirements change at the drop of a hat," he said. "So we need you to help us understand what's in the art of the possible, what's new, what's innovative, what you can bring to the table that allows us to do things in a different way."

Bennett said the reorganization is an ongoing process and he will evaluate the changes in the coming months to determine what adjustments need to be made.

About the Author

Sean Carberry is a former FCW staff writer who focused on defense, cybersecurity and intelligence.


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