DISA will test shared apps

DISA's Focus: nine core

Application: Services to provision, host, operate and manage GIG's enterprise service environment

Collaboration: Applications to work together via chats, online meetings and workgroups

Discovery: Services to locate data in files, databases, directories and Web pages by exploiting metadata descriptions

Enterprise Service Management: A set of services to monitor the GIG network, perform configuration management and provide help desk support

Mediation: Applications for processing, translating, aggregating and integrating data

Messaging: Apps for information exchange, including e-mail, instant messaging, alerts and message-oriented middleware

Security: Services to protect the information architecture and monitor systems for vulnerabilities

Storage: Services to post, store and retrieve data

User Assistance: Automated to help users access and use GIG resources

DISA CIO John Garing says the agency will avoid developing apps because 'it makes no sense for us to develop something if a capability already exists.'

Rick Steele

The overlapping roads to military network-centricity are about to finally get a needed intersection.

The lanes established by the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps toward networks to improve command, control and communications for warfighting don't always merge, so their systems often don't work together seamlessly.

'Each service is trying to be net-centric in their own right. They are implementing it as 'my net-centricity,' ' said Priscilla Guthrie, deputy CIO of the Defense Department.

The Defense Information Systems Agency wants to merge those paths into a single IT thoroughfare capable of running the latest collaborative services. DISA this year will work with the services on the Net-Centric Enterprise Services initiative to develop a set of tools that will enhance their war-fighting efforts.

Guthrie said top Defense officials reviewed NCES in mid-December and found it progressing well. DISA officials recognize that the agency must lead the military services' net-centric transformation if the branches are going to work together seamlessly.

'In our leadership role, we have been meeting with the military services and others to exchange ideas and philosophy on how best to continue the movement of net-centric operations,' said John Garing, DISA's CIO and director for strategic planning and information.

Nine services

NCES will cover nine services: applications, collaboration, discovery, enterprise service management, mediation, messaging, security, storage and user assistance.

The services will reach users via DISA's Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion, a $900 million project to establish high-bandwidth connectivity at military sites.

DISA does not want to compete with the military branches in developing net-centric tools, so it will look at applications currently in use or available commercially before developing new ones.

'The way that our program directorate is going at this, we are evaluating the commercial technologies and whatever exists in the agencies,' Garing said. 'It makes no sense for us to develop something if a capability already exists.'

This year, the NCES program office will focus on rapidly integrating commercial products, collaborating with the services on applications development, and speeding up the process for developing, testing and producing new technologies, said Debra Filippi, principal director for NCES.

DISA wants to incorporate the best commercial practices into NCES. It will model its effort on companies that rapidly push out capabilities by closely integrating operational network, development and testing capabilities, she said.

'The bottom line is that NCES, in response to the tempo of today's global military operations, will deliver relevant capabilities to DOD faster and more often than we have ever done before,' Filippi said.

In October, DISA teamed with the Joint Forces Command and the Strategic Command during a demonstration called Oktoberfest to test four of the nine core services: discovery, mediation, messaging and security.

The purpose of the exercise, and of the larger initiative, is to share real-time data on the battlefield. NCES will do this by making data available to users by subscription.

'We have the capability to publish images, messages, alerts and provide relevant information to a deployed subscriber that could alert that subscriber of any danger in the subscriber's geographical location via an edge device in the vehicle,' she explained. 'NCES provides the infrastructure framework for making data available and consumable across the enterprise.'

And making that data available fast. 'By focusing on posting information as it becomes available, the intent is to overcome delays involved in processing,' Filippi said.

So far, Guthrie said she is pleased with NCES' progress.

NCES will enhance security because it relies on a standard set of services used across the department, she said.

'We have lives at stake. We're building software to facilitate broader information sharing,' Guthrie said.

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