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DISA Director Discusses Future of Joint Information Environment

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2014 – Budget and social trends are spurring the military’s fine-tuning of command and control, cloud computing and mobile security the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency said yesterday.

Speaking at the Joint Information Environment Mission Partner Symposium in Baltimore, Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr. said DISA wants to posture the organization’s workforce by July for the changing digital information technology environment.

“As we build out the JIE, as we build out an environment for the future, we can also help the services [with] capabilities to offload work to DISA, and that would be able to free up their workforce,” Hawkins reported.

But despite the shift to a single security architecture that includes the joint regional security staff, Hawkins said the Joint Information Environment’s complexity mandates a reassessment of the internal threats. The Pvt. Manning and the Edward Snowden data breach incidents, the general said, have illustrated the need for DISA to focus on the insider-threat arena.

“We’re able to put big data in the cloud, [but] it’s not just about storing big data, but analyzing the data we put in there,” Hawkins said. “We’re creating enterprisewide tools, and as a result, we’re creating a more defensible architecture.”

Moving information through the mobility ecosystem requires securing the data at rest and also in transit, Hawkins said. “Whatever type of hand-held device you have, you can be assured that the information moved from point A to point B is the information sent from the user to the receiver.”

The general also said the end goal is to be able to move information across the mission partner environment. “We are exploiting what is taking place as we build out the JIE within the Pacific Rim,” Hawkins said. “The mobile networking system is the driver of the foundation.”

Centralizing, consolidating and standardizing the budget have also been a priority for DISA, Hawkins said.

“We’ve been transparent on where we’re spending our money,” he said. “We are looking at making sure we reduce costs. … We want to maximize a workforce that is focused on the future [and] organize for the competitive IT advantage to make sure DISA is organized for success.”

Hawkins emphasized that workforce training that enables a shift from past to future conflicts is critical in DISA’s growth and partnership across the DOD.

“We must maneuver our resources to shape the enterprise for the conflicts of tomorrow, not really the conflicts we’ve had in the past,” the general said.

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleAFPS)


Contact Author

Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr.

Related Sites:
Defense Information Systems Agency
Special Report: FY 2015 Defense Budget Proposal
Special Report: Science and Technology

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