Inside DOD


Amber Corrin

Inside DOD

By Amber Corrin

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Forward march: Army e-mail overhaul still a go

The Army’s ambitious plans for an enterprise-wide e-mail system hit a snag in May when the department rescinded a request for proposals (RFP) for the project, but it is still moving forward, according to one senior Defense Department official.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the Army's chief information officer who has spearheaded the project, said his office wants the Defense Information Systems Agency to house the system.

“We’re working with DISA to host our e-mail,” Sorenson said today at a breakfast briefing held by the Association of the U.S. Army outside Washington. “The proposal is in, we’ve negotiated the pricing terms and we may start up as early as next quarter.”

The Army said in a March 5 draft RFP it planned to consolidate the various e-mail accounts for nearly 250,000 users over a two-year period to eventually create a managed, enterprisewide e-mail, calendar and messaging system that could eventually serve all the Defense Department.

Sorenson indicated that the RFP created some confusion over the various requirements; the complexity of the project was among the chief reasons the RFP was canceled to begin with. However, he left open the possibility of expanding the project in the future.

“We may look at managed services down the road,” he said.

 

Posted on Jul 13, 2010 at 7:25 PM0 comments


Secrecy could be weighing down military info-sharing

Today’s battlefield looks different from those of the past past for several reasons, not the least of which being the proliferation of technology in combat. The Defense Department is intent on maximizing capabilities of those technologies, particularly in the realm of information-sharing, where being connected is saving lives.

However, the much-needed information-sharing can be complicated by another critical aspect of war: Operational security. And in the name of "op-sec," U.S. military secrecy is second to none.

But what happens when the need to share clashes with the need to know?

“There’s a volume of information being exchanged on the battlefield,” said Mike Eixenberger, deputy director of the Army’s LandWarNet Battle Command. Here, the network is key, he said. “The ultimate goal of the network is to connect people and organizations to share information and knowledge, and to develop common understanding.”

Sometimes, however, important information is sandbagged by the "secret" data classification, even when it’s not necessarily needed.

“There is a difference between making something 'secret' – with all the accompanying encryption and all that – and taking due diligence” to make sure information is going to the right places, Eixenberger said. “There are smart ways of taking caution to protect information.”

The process can be complicated by where the information is being shared – namely, on DOD’s Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRnet). “Just because you put information or systems on SIPR[net] doesn’t mean it’s secret,” he said.

To best arm servicemembers in dual wars, a balance must be struck between operational security and important information-sharing.

“There are always risks and vulnerabilities, but you have to lay those out next to the benefits,” Eixenberger said. He spoke on June 29 at the Command and Control Summit held by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement in Arlington, Va.

Posted on Jul 02, 2010 at 7:25 PM0 comments


Navy CIO assuming new cyber role

Robert Carey, who recently announced he would soon step down as the Navy’s chief information officer, has accepted a position with the Navy Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet.

Carey will become director of strategy and policy and work under 10th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Bernard McCullough. The Navy Fleet Cyber Command was launched earlier this year.

“I am remaining in the Navy IT/Cyber enterprise. ... I have accepted a position at U.S. 10th Fleet / FLEETCYBERCOM and will be working strategy and policy issues to get us moving toward proper cybersecurity as well as access to information. This operational exposure should allow me to see a very unique component of the enterprise,” Carey said in an e-mail to 1105 Government Information Group publications, which include Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week, Washington Technology and Defense Systems.

Carey has been a proponent of the development of technology in government, as well as military cyberstrategy. He was the first government CIO blogger, and he’s been part of a team of military CIOs playing a critical role in the establishment of a formal military cyber defense in the U.S. Cyber Command and the four services’ individual cyber components supporting it.

Carey has not said when he will start the new position or where it will be located, but the Navy Fleet Cyber Command is headquartered alongside the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md.

Posted on Jun 30, 2010 at 7:25 PM0 comments


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