DISA pushes on Fourth Estate network modernization


The Defense Information Systems Agency is leading the way to move support defense agencies and field activities to a new single service network called DODNet.

The agency has been moving its own IT support services as part of the Defense Department's Fourth Estate Network Optimization effort, and will begin moving other agencies by the end of 2020.

Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) will be the first of 14 agencies to migrate, said David Bennett, director of DISA's operation center.

"We're already maturing our existing networks, what we call DISANet, and we're basically maturing it to become DODNet," and so it can be extended to other organizations, Bennett told reporters following the AFCEA DC DISA event Jan. 16.

DTIC, he said, will be the first agency beyond DISA to migrate to DODNet by "the end of the third quarter this year."

The four-year optimization effort aims to standardize the look, feel and implementation of common desktop applications but not mission applications. It also is supposed to reduce cost and cyber risks, while standardizing implementation and encouraging agencies to use enterprise capabilities, Bennett said.

"We have basically trumped up the 20 some odd defense agencies into groups in terms of which ones can we go quickest with versus, which are the ones to push to the back end of the queue because of the size, complexity, as well as some of the unique aspects of activities that they do," Bennett told a packed room Jan. 16 that the Fourth Estate Network Optimization, also called 4ENO.

"We're really trying to become that IT enabler for those agencies to move into a common way of doing things and into a common technical approach."

Bennett didn't speak to how much the optimization effort would save the Department of Defense but told reporters that it did force conversations around IT spending and accounting.

Instead of individual money pots for each agency, the amount being used for common user IT was pooled to put toward Fourth Estate's network modernization.

"The work that was done up front was to identify what's the funding that's tied to those agencies in terms of how they do business before 4ENO ever came along," he said. "So how much money are you already spending on IT? And then that became the basis for figuring out what that cost is going to be."

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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