Internet of Things

Agencies look to get smart on IoT


Federal agencies are grappling with growth in internet-connected devices on their networks, but a few agencies are making progress when it comes to acquisition and management of internet-of-things devices.

The use of IoT sensors and other devices, said Frank Konieczny, chief technology officer at the Air Force's Office of Information Dominance and Air Force CIO, should be driven by overall mission effectiveness as opposed to framing it as a cost-benefit equation.

That math, according to Konieczny and other speakers at AFCEA's April 24 IoT Summit, is not as straightforward when the missions are critical.

The Air Force, like the other armed services, is working to get a handle on how many IoT devices it has, where they are and what they do. The Air Force has a "Smart Base" trial underway at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama to see how IoT can help monitor perimeter security, gates, vehicle fleet management and other operations.

That trial, Konieczny said, will help the Air Force determine how to more effectively handle IoT as a mission asset, he said.

Scott Tousley, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Division said that "everyone is grappling with how to incorporate [IoT]."  Each agency will have to work out how to do it using its own way, because agency missions and priorities can be vastly different.

However, he pointed out that an agency's tech culture will have a big influence on how IoT is incorporated and handled, just as it does with IT acquisition and the adoption of agile techniques. "Does your organization have a technical culture of continual improvement and learn from what it has done?" he asked.

Federal agencies, particularly those charged with critical missions, should have a more robust approach to not only installing IoT, but also in its development, he said.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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