DISA chief: Don't be a manager, be a leader

DISA chief: Don't be a manager, be a leader

BY DAWN S. ONLEY | GCN STAFF

Dawn Meyerriecks sees herself as a leader, not a manager.

A leader is a visionary who plans for the long-term, the chief technology officer for the Defense Information Systems Agency said. A manager is often tied up in day-to-day scheduling, with little time for goal planning.

'It's a technology evangelist role,' Meyerriecks said of her job. 'I do a lot of outreach sorts of things.'

With several major technological initiatives in the works at DISA, Meyerriecks must plan which areas will take priority this year. She said one of her chief priorities is to fight for a prime band of radio frequency that the Defense Department has used for decades to run more than 100 of its electronic systems.

DAWN MEYERRIECKS
'I think there's a customer focus that is driving all the revamp.'
'DAWN MEYERRIECKS, DISA'S CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
That spectrum is being eyed by the wireless industry, which is lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to force DOD to relinquish or share some of the frequency, in the 1755-MHz to 1850-MHz range. DOD has said that moving frequencies or sharing the band would jeopardize mission-critical systems.

DISA officials are also working on the Teleport program, which will let the agency buy bandwidth from commercial satellite networks to ease the burden on oversubscribed military systems. Teleport expands on the Standardized Tactical Entry Point program, which gives soldiers access to voice, video and data transmissions through the Defense Satellite Communications System and other networks.

Focus on technology

Not all of Meyerriecks' concerns are so high-tech. She said that under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr., DISA has a new emphasis on customer service and satisfaction.
'I think there's a customer focus that is driving all the revamp,' Meyerriecks said.
But technology remains the agency's primary focus.

In October, DISA officials plan to pilot a voice over IP system in the new Eagle Building in Falls Church, Va., which will house DISA's engineers.

The agency also is continuing development of the Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment.

DISA is studying how to apply the COE to handheld devices used by the Marine Corps. This would allow the devices access to the Common Operational Picture, a system that collects data from a number of sources. The information would help Marines see the position of enemy and friendly soldiers on the battlefield, Meyerriecks said, but the challenge has been in addressing security concerns.

Meyerriecks, who has been the chief technology officer for two years, has extensive experience working with the COE. She joined DISA in 1995 as chief engineer and took over integration and production of the environment.

DISA is planning a revamp of the Defense Information System Network, the department's consolidated, worldwide telecommunications infrastructure.

The agency is looking to incorporate high-speed switching, multiplexing and transmission into DISN's backbone.

The network also hosts thousands of military Web sites, delivers e-mail and personnel data, provides weather information and offers access to the Defense Travel System.

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