DOD can't run without contractors, DISA director says

Pollett also discusses evolution of DISA's mission, agency move to Fort Meade in 2010

Lt. Gen. Carroll Pollett, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, reiterated the importance of the contract workforce to DISA at an industry presentation Aug. 7, especially, he said, as the agency faces moving its staff to Fort Meade, Md., next year.

“On any given day, we have 6,000-8,000 contractors working in direct support, not of DISA, but the national level leadership and warfighters,” he told industry representatives at the agency's Forecast to Industry event in Arlington, Va.

Pollett kicked off a day of presentations from DISA senior management and program managers to industry that laid out the agency’s acquisition plans for the coming fiscal year and into 2011. He discussed the evolving nature of DISA's mission and the challenges the agency faces in the next year — including the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission-mandated move of the agency to Fort Meade. Pollett said that 65 percent of the agency's staff have said they will make the move to Maryland, but he still foresees a major need for new talent to fill the gap as DISA begins the move next year.

“We're putting significant efforts into hiring processes,” Pollett said. He added that while he needed the people, the loss of as much as 25 percent of the agency staff in the move would give DISA's leadership an opportunity to realign staffing to meet the agency's emerging needs.

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“It we have 25 percent of the positions to fill, what's the right place to put them?” he said. “Do I have my formations weighted properly? How do I restructure the workforce to balance the workload better? At the same time we're thinking about these things, we're doing a detailed analysis of where the gaps and seams are in the organization.”

In discussing the Senate's move to kill the Net Enabled Command Capability, Pollett said, “I'm looking for a strategy going ahead for [command and control] for the Department of Defense — I'm trying not to get caught up in a particular brand name.” He said that the DISA leadership was discussing a strategy to go forward with for C2 development with Dr. Ashton Carter, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, to “work the process.”

Of the acquisition programs discussed during the event, the one most anticipated by many industry representatives was the pending re-compete for DISA's Global Service Management (GSM) program. DISA's Bruce Bennett, program executive officer for Satellites, Teleport and Services, is leading that procurement effort. Bennett pointed to DISA's agreement with GSA to jointly acquire satellite capacity, and, while saying that a procurement strategy hadn't been finalized, he hinted that it was possible that such an approach might be followed for GSM.

About the Author

Sean Gallagher is senior contributing editor for Defense Systems.

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