CONTRACT REPORTS: Introduction: Warfighting Capability at Internet Speed

by Lt. Gen. Charles E. Croom Jr., Director, Defense Information Systems Agency Commander, Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations and Rear Admiral Elizabeth A. Hight, Vice Director, Defense Information Systems Agency

Warfighting today – and tomorrow –  is about joint, shared use of information without the boundaries of ownership or location.  Collaboration and the discovery and sharing of information are more and more important both in our everyday lives and in warfighting.  They are fueled by the technologies and concepts known as Web 2.0.  Everyone is connected.  Our challenge in the Department of Defense is to enable our warfighters with speed and agility that give them advantage.


Addressing this challenge is complicated because we often must react to an unknown world.  We must find ways to deal with unexpected, non-traditional relationships and partners in coalition warfighting; unconventional and unpredictable use of information; quick, agile reaction to world events; and
unpredictable locations, users, times, and durations.  And, we have to be continually aware that those who would do us harm often are more agile than we in using these new technologies.  Our drive for success in challenging times, then, creates the imperative for greater speed and agility.


Our vision is stated in our DISA Strategy:

“We will provide Internet technology at speeds necessary to bring people together efficiently, help them do their jobs in ways never anticipated, and enable them to do things never envisioned.”

The series of articles that follows provides an overview of our strategies for meeting our challenges and outlines the steps we are taking to increase the speed and agility with which we deliver capabilities and services to the warfighter.

A Note from the Co-Editor
Warren Suss
President, Suss Consulting, Inc.


DISA’s new IT vision will have an impact on all of us.  It will provide our warfighters with a new generation of information sharing services and capabilities.  It will change established processes for Department of Defense IT system development and management.  It will encourage industry providers to use new business models for delivering IT solutions in new ways.

The idea for this series of articles began with a narrower focus – to cover one element of DISA’s vision - the Adopt, Buy, Create (ABC) strategy.  Discussions with the leadership at DISA made it clear that the ABC strategy is only one element of a new paradigm for getting results to our warfighters faster and more efficiently.

The new DISA vision is transformative for users, but it is also disruptive for those who cling to an older, slower, more cautious approach to designing, building, delivering, and managing Defense Department information technology.  I believe we don’t have the option of turning back, because last generation’s technologies and processes won’t work in delivering next generation results.

But the vision is still in its formative stages.  We need to get users on board to make sure we’re really producing the tools they need.  We need to get the gatekeepers on board to streamline review and approval processes for greater speed and increased risk tolerance.  We need to get industry on
board to help with the challenging task of adapting the latest commercial technologies and practices to the high security, mission-critical Department of Defense environment.

The articles describe a vision.  We need to refine and expand the vision.  The articles describe early successes.  We need to build on these successes.  The articles point out where we need to go, but we all need to build detailed roadmaps for how to get from where we stand today to the next generation of Defense Department Information Technology capabilities and services.

Acknowledgement: We are grateful to the hard working DISA professionals – engineers, program managers, Corporate Communications, and senior executives – who gave generously of their time to contribute to this series of articles.