DOD tweaks plan for a new systems board

DOD tweaks plan for a new systems board

DOD's Marvin Langston says the Glo-bal Information Grid plan will improve con-sistency and security in Defense systems.

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

To establish common network standards and increase systems integration, Defense Department officials are putting the final touches on a plan to create a powerful systems board with DOD-wide authority.

The Global Information Grid (GIG) program is the new name for what DOD officials had been calling the Global Network Information Enterprise in draft reports circulating within the department [GCN, Aug. 2, Page 1].

Senior systems officials said GIG is an extension of the Defense Information Infrastructure's Common Operating Environment.

'We've seen a lot of bottom-up growth in networks,' said Marvin Langston, DOD's deputy chief information officer. 'What's been lacking is consistency and security.'

A new GIG

GIG is an attempt to establish multiple layers of network defense, he said, and it will encompass commercial and legacy products, as well as sensors, and will play a key role in tactical operations.

A group of senior DOD systems oficials'representing all the services, the Defense Information Systems Agency, Office of the Secretary of Defense, the intelligence community and the Joint Chiefs of Staff'that meets every two weeks will become the governing board for GIG. But first, deputy Defense secretary John J. Hamre must approve the GIG charter, Langston said.

Hamre's OK is expected by early next month, Langston said.

'We've never seen this serious level of attention on the information technology infrastructure' from DOD leaders, he said.

Defense CIO Arthur Money will break ties and make decisions when the GIG board cannot agree, Langston said. The board will have the authority to withhold funding and operational support to organizations that do not deploy GIG-compliant systems, he said.

GIG has 'enough teeth in place [to make the] forces align,' he said.

To inform the entire DOD community and vendors about its findings, the GIG board will post policy papers on the Web, Langston said. The department's Enterprise Software Initiative to negotiate departmentwide licenses will also become part of GIG, he said.

The Joint Task Force on Computer Network Defense, funded by DISA, will run the main network operations center for GIG. But otherwise the program appears to diminish DISA's importance in setting DOD architecture standards as it has for DII COE.

Champing at the bit

'In many respects, it puts teeth into DII COE,' Langston said. 'It's the next evolution of DII.'
Rather than establish a program budget, GIG will require that CIOs within Defense organizations redirect funding for the effort, Langston said.

'We don't think it will require additional funding at all,' he said. 'It should save money.'

GIG will also give DOD greater leverage in influencing industry standards, Langston said.

'It gives us a collective voice as opposed to a fragmented one,' he said.

Although DOD officials recognize the important role they can play in establishing networking standards, 'we're not idiotic [enough] to believe we can control standards,' Langston said.

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