Marines look to hit key JRSS milestone by year's end

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Elize McKelvey) A contractor supporting the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit uses a digital interoperability system aboard an MV-22B Osprey during Certification Exercise (CERTEX) off the coast of San Diego, April 19, 2015.

A contractor supporting the Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard a MV-22B Osprey (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Elize McKelvey)

The Marines Corps expects to complete the first implementation of the Joint Regional Security Stacks in Quantico, Va., by the end of 2019.

Gregg Kendrick, executive director for the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, said that while the service was previously reticent about the Joint Information Environment, it is now focused on making the shift.

"Historically, the Marines Corps wasn't necessarily focused on the Joint Information Environment," he said during an AFCEA DC luncheon June 19. "I would say that transformation or shift has occurred as well."

Ken Bible, the Marines' deputy CIO and deputy C4 director, said the service had always been "on board" with JIE but lacked clarity on how it would be beneficial on the tactical edge. After learning more about the DOD CIO's priorities, Bible said the Marines have been able to get on board with DOD's commercial cloud plans and influence its contracting requirements.

"As we've gone on, and more and more clarity has come about from the DOD on about what the idea was behind JIE, what the priorities were for the DOD CIO -- we're shaping that," he said, referencing large-scale cloud procurements including Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure and the Defense Enterprise Office Systems.

"So the requirements that you see in the JEDI contract, the requirements that you see in the ECAPS/DEOS contracts, that DIL [disconnected, intermittent, and latent] requirement, that's all driven by what we need to have at the tactical edge. So as the DOD has embraced more of that, it's been easier for us to take on board everything that they're doing."

Bible said the Marines were in the process of issuing follow-on cloud migration policy guidance to help functional communities articulate their needs for cloud services, enrolling them into a service catalogue and apprising them of required security protections. Bible stressed that finding commonality, security and sustainment on cloud systems were chief priorities.

The Marines Corps is also developing a single engineering IT organization underneath the deputy commandant for Information and Systems Command, Kendrick said.

Additionally, USMC is looking at the cloud and requirements needed from a security service provider -- still wary of as-a-service models -- but wants to understand how that "maps into the Cyber Excepted Service," which allows people to rotate in and out of the government and keep up with training and new skills.

"We've gone into the Cyber Excepted Service now, we started [initial operating capacity] about three and a half weeks ago, and we'll close with the full-on implementation from MARFORCYBER (Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command) and the cyber operations group no later than 30 September, earlier if we can."


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