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DOD Consolidates IT Services to Improve Efficiency

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A 2018 analysis by the Defense Department chief information officer and the Defense Information Systems Agency found inefficiencies in DOD information technology delivery, the principal deputy CIO said.

John Sherman, spoke at the AFCEA International conference yesterday.

A man is speaking and behind him is a sign stating that he is at the Pentagon.
Sherman Remarks
John Sherman, principal deputy, chief information officer, speaks at the AFCEA International virtual conference, Dec. 1, 2020.
Photo By: DOD video still
VIRIN: 201201-O-ZZ999-004

That assessment catalogued and analyzed network and computer assets, software, staffing levels and existing support services contracts. It was found that each organization operated its own unclassified and classified network and service desk, he said, requiring over 1,000 civilian personnel and 600 IT contracts to operate and maintain those networks and service desks. 

Organizations were dedicating a significant portion of their resources to IT. Even so, they were unable to keep pace with technological advancements and industry best practice due to the prioritization of their limited resources, he said.

A soldier works at a computer station with four monitors.
Masscan Tool
Army Maj. Jared Hrabak, a cyber officer with the Army Reserve’s Cyber Protection Team 185, uses a common network scanning tool called “masscan” to enumerate a network during his unit’s virtual battle assembly at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Aug. 9, 2020.
Photo By: Army
VIRIN: 200809-A-HU020-518C

As a result of this analysis, the department launched the "Fourth Estate Network Optimization," which is consolidating IT systems that are separate from the military services. This is being done in an incremental way to reduce the risks that a massive undertaking like this could pose if it were launched across all the services, he said.

The end goal, he said, is to eventually create one efficient IT system across the department, including all of the services.

All network and service desks will be operated by the Defense Information Systems Agency, Sherman said. This will improve visibility of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, reduce operating expenses, enable adoption of commercial innovations, allow organizations to focus on their core missions, create a consistent user experience and most importantly, it will benefit the warfighter.

A Marine’s hands on a laptop computer’s keyboard.
Aerial Surveillance
Marine Corps Cpl. David Stevens, an intelligence surveillance reconnaissance systems engineer with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducts aerial electronic surveillance over Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, in a UH-1Y Venom helicopter with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (Reinforced), Aug. 4, 2020.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Brandon Salas
VIRIN: 200804-M-PZ577-817

Over the next year a majority of DOD organizations that are not part of the military services will migrate to this global service desk, he said.

"While we have made remarkable progress over the past year and a half in creating the foundation necessary to establish a single service provider for the department, we also recognize that this is not the time to rest on our laurels," he said. "It will be a multi-year effort. And, we have significant work ahead of us."

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