DISA Web pilot supports move to collaborate online

'The purposes for using the service are as varied as the organizational communities themselves.'

' Tracy Terwilliger, program manager for the NGCS-P

John Kandrac

The Defense Department wants the Army, Navy and Air Force enterprise portals linked to a pilot project to test secure, browser-based collaboration tools from WebEx Communications Inc. of San Jose, Calif.

Michael Krieger, director of information management in the department's CIO office, said his office is developing a Global Information Grid-Enterprise Services strategy that would provide guidance and instruction to Defense agencies and military services on moving toward an enterprise approach to services.

Such key services as collaboration and security ought to be joint across DOD, Krieger said, although each of the services is also developing its own approach to enterprise hardware, software and services.

'All GIG-ES needs to be discoverable by all users,' Krieger said recently during the Army Small Computer Program conference held in Las Vegas. DOD has established several engineering working groups to hold roundtable discussions with the agencies on the best way to proceed with a consolidated enterprise services approach.

Krieger said the department also is pushing use of WebEx tools among the services. He said DOD has met with the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command in an attempt to get the service to post a link on the Army Knowledge Online site to the Defense WebEx pilot. The department also wants to get a link on the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet portal and on the Air Force portal.

'We're almost there,' Krieger said of the department's efforts with the Army. 'We have to adjudicate one last security issue to host it on AKO.'

Testing tools

In October, the Defense Information Systems Agency awarded a $13.6 million contract to Computer Technology Services Inc. of San Jose, Calif. The agency also agreed to test the tools from WebEx under the contract.

The Next Generation Collaboration Services-Pilot, which be-gan in January and is scheduled to run for a year to two years, has up to 3,000 users across DOD and was designed to resolve policy and procedural issues associated with collaboration as a managed service. Pilot participants will try out text, audio, video and whiteboard collaboration, as well as application sharing, broadcasting, virtual workspaces and session auditing, according to Tracy Terwilliger, program manager for the NGCS-P.

Terwilliger said the pilot would provide insights for developing procurement strategy for the future collaboration portion of DISA's Net-Centric Enterprise Services initiative.

Collaboration is one of the nine core enterprise services that DISA plans to roll out for departmentwide use over the Global Information Grid by 2007. The others are applications, discovery, enterprise service management, mediation, messaging, security, storage and user assistance.

'The purposes for using the service are as varied as the organizational communities themselves,' Terwilliger said.

The tools have been used, for example, to host ad-hoc meetings among DOD, humanitarian and disaster relief communities during Operation Unified Assistance's efforts to help tsunami victims in Southeast Asia, Terwilliger said.

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