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Digital Modernization to Benefit Warfighters, DOD CIO Says

July 12, 2019 | BY David Vergun

Information technology is the backbone of today's modern battlefield and even more important in a constantly evolving security climate.

That's why digital modernization is more important than ever. To usher in digital modernization, the DOD chief information officer has launched its first Digital Modernization Strategy, underpinned by four modernization pillars: cloud; artificial intelligence; command, control and communications, known as C3; and cybersecurity.

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Video by Anastasia Tompkins, DOD

First, DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said, an enterprise cloud will be created that will enable information sharing across the entire military and most importantly, to the warfighters on the tactical edge. Also, the enterprise cloud will deliver the next generation of applications that the warfighters will need to succeed.

Second, for the enterprise cloud to effectively and efficiently enable information sharing on a vast scale, it will be powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

Airmen operate a radio and a laptop.
Communications Squadron
Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Simpson, left, a 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron radio frequency transmission technician, and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Frederick Premuto, 379th ECS radio frequency transmission noncommissioned officer in charge, check communications equipment for a coalition partner facility at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 8, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
VIRIN: 190208-F-AD344-0217C

To develop and deliver AI to the enterprise cloud, DOD needed to create the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, known as the JAIC, Deasy said. 

The JAIC "will be used by all the services, which will be the way in which we start to create new AI solutions at scale – that can be used across the department," he added.

Third, is the ability to communicate to the warfighter with C3, Deasy said, which is "how do we ensure that we can get the end results from our cloud, from our AI solutions out to the tactical edge, out to the warfighter."

Marines type on a tactical radio keypad with a lighted display.
Radio Frequencies
Marine Corps Cpl. Andrew Goldthorpe, left, a chief scout, and Marine Cpl. Tony Todd, a scout section leader, both with Light Armored Reconnaissance Company, Battalion Landing Team, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, set frequencies on an RT 1949 radio aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha in the Pacific Ocean, March 25, 2019.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Israel Chincio
VIRIN: 190325-M-ET529-0024C

Fourth, to prevent the department's technology from being compromised, it must be protected by defensive and offensive cyber capability, he said, noting that the Defense  Department must be resilient when dealing with inevitable attacks from adversaries.

"The Digital Modernization Strategy is all about the warfighter," Deasy said. "In everything we're building we're always challenging ourselves and asking: Are we doing this in the most thoughtful way that's going to enable the warfighter to be successful?"

A soldier rests his hand on a radio in a tactical vehicle.
Radio System
Army Spc. Daniel Giraldo, with the 142nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, prepares to use a Joint Capabilities Release radio system at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Jan. 28, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Nicholas Brown-Bel
VIRIN: 190128-A-AP391-0006C