DISA plans to close 10 of 16 data megacenters

Bowing to the recommendations of the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Defense
Information Systems Agency has come up with a plan to eliminate 10 Defense Department data
processing megacenters.


"It is a QDR direction that DISA got, and we are going to go back to the Defense
Secretary with the plan to do so," said Anthony Valletta, acting assistant secretary
of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence.


After a thorough analysis of the optimum number of Defense megacenters required to
efficiently handle DOD's information processing workload, the QDR in May recommended that
DISA consolidate its 16 hub processing sites into six computer centers.


The consolidation would reduce infrastructure and personnel costs, the report
concluded.


Over the past seven years, DOD has been consolidating its computer center operations,
moving the workload and equipment from 194 computer centers into 16 megacenters. So far,
DOD estimates it has achieved a $500 million reduction in processing costs.


Defense officials want the latest round of data center closings to yield even greater
savings, according to various reports. A Coopers & Lybrand study conducted last year
concluded that DOD would save more than $1 billion over a 10-year lifecycle if DOD
consolidated data processing at six sites and outsourced more services.


For now, however, DOD is keeping the list of megacenters that it will shut a closely
guarded secret. Regardless of which sites are on the hit list, any attempt by DISA to ax
10 megacenters will no doubt face strong opposition from members of Congress.


"We've already received hundreds of cards and letters from just about every
constituent, congressman and senator that has a megacenter in their district,"
Valletta said. "This is going to be one of those no-win things, but we'll do the best
we can."


States with more than one center are the most likely to be on the losing end. Four
states have two centers: Alabama, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania.


Valletta said Defense Secretary William Cohen will receive a briefing on DISA's
consolidation plan later this month.


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