Navy CIO says the service is 'on the cusp' of CAC-less cloud access

Getty Images

In an effort to bring the Navy's technology into the present day, CIO Aaron Weis says the service is testing solutions that would allow personnel to connect from virtually any (approved) device without a common access card.

The Navy has big plans to improve personnel's workflows from progress on rolling out Microsoft Office 365 to developing a solution that allows for secure access without a common access card.

"We are in the midst of deploying Flank Speed, which is the Office 365 and Azure Cloud capability, across the Navy. The Marine Corps has already done their chunk. They're there. The Navy is about halfway through it," Navy CIO Aaron Weis said during a March 23 virtual event hosted by Federal News Network. 

The Navy has been deploying Office 365 across the Defense Department's unclassified network, NIPRNet, to about 240,000 endpoints of approximately 470,000 – a milestone that Weis said brings the service's tech capabilities closer to present day. 

"I got my first mobile device, iPhone, with Office 365 on it. I had Microsoft Outlook and and Teams and whatnot on a device and it was tied in with a OneDrive and cloud based storage. 

And I looked up at one of the folks in my office and said, 'Hey, we're at 2017 – this is cool, right?"

Weis said that while the Navy has crossed the halfway point in its migration there are still challenges with network infrastructure. 

"What we're gated by is back to that network and transport. We could deploy Office 365 much more rapidly, but the experience would be awful, especially when you get to the OCONUS locations," he said. 

"[Indo-Pacific Command], Hawaii, Guam – their core infrastructure isn't ready to sustain that. So, you know, in many cases it's how do you stitch these things together, understanding the critical path and knowing that you know, you're going to get there without kind of killing the workforce along the way. And we need to make sure that that doesn't happen."

Identity management and ditching the CAC

The Navy is working diligently to modernize its architecture as quickly as possible, while being mindful of all of the moving pieces that come with large-scale infrastructure shifts, the CIO said. 

Weis said the service is "on the cusp" of broadly deploying Microsoft Azure's virtual desktop with multi-factor and CAC-less authentication. 

"In fact, I'm at home. And so I'm doing this [interview] over my personal MacBook Air," Weis said. "But 15 minutes before this call I was on my Azure virtual desktop on the same machine that I authenticated through multi-factor authentication CAC-less and was interacting with my [Windows 10] desktop in real time."

The capability, which he said is being tested by several hundred users testing the virtual desktop infrastructure, has the potential to deploy to basically anyone with "a barely viable endpoint." But there's a catch. 

"While you don't need a CAC to access it, you do need your certificate to be able to access encrypted things, to be able to log in to a website that you know wants CAC-based authentication. So there's a solution for that. It's happening," Weis said. 

"We're working it with [the Defense Information Systems Agency] and we are very close to being able to deploy that. So that even though you're logged in with [multi-factor authentication], CAC-less authentication, I can still present my certificate and access an encrypted email." 

The Navy is also developing a solution with its Program Executive Office Digital that allows secure access to applications on the Defense Department's Information Network (DODIN).

"So for example, if there is an on-prem system or application, I will be able to access that from my Azure virtual desktop as though I was physically sitting on the DODIN," Weis said.

The plan is to have access from virtually any device. 

"Our first focus is actually to go replace the existing [on-premises] VDIs that we have," Weis said. "What we have to do is come up with how could we roll this out more broadly, what's its place, how are we going to pay for it…all that stuff."

NEXT STORY: Cyber and future defense budgets

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.