DISA to streamline technology development

The Defense Department has several projects in the works that will deliver much-needed advanced communications capabilities to all branches of the U.S. military, according to Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Speaking to an audience composed primarily of Army information technology specialists at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association LandWarNet 2007 conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Croom said DISA is focused on shortening development times of new computing and communications technologies.

The biggest challenge DISA faces in its effort to streamline its procurement cycles for new systems 'is trying to get an organization this big used to change,' Croom said. Nevertheless, Croom's number-one goal is changing the way the agency operates to allow risk-taking and more quickly deliver technologies to the military. 'It's OK to be wrong, and if you're fast enough you can fail early, [correct yourself] and still deliver a capability faster.'

One initiative that Croom cited as an example of DISA's new approach is its Federated Development and Certification Environment, an effort that requires contractors, the military, and certification and testing authorities to participate in all stages of a product's development. The process dramatically reduces the time needed to develop, test and certify a capability by requiring participants to offer their input simultaneously, Croom said.

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