ARLINGTON, Va. —
The Defense Department’s information technology efforts are focused on maintaining the warfighters’ edge and supporting national defense priorities, DoD’s chief information officer said here today.
“Today’s security environment is affected by rapid technological advancements and the changing character of war,” Dana Deasy said in a keynote address at a conference hosted by Defense Systems. “The warfighter needs access to intelligence and communication to enable quick decision-making and maintain a competitive edge.”
DoD is in a “period of unified purpose, intellectual rigor, and unwavering dedication” to the National Defense Strategy‘s three lines of effort – increasing lethality, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices, he said.
Deasy identified four strategic areas in the department’s digital modernization in support of the National Defense Strategy, listing them in order of integration: cloud; artificial intelligence; command, control and communications; and cyber.
Cyber, Deasy said, is central to everything the department does.
“We must dominate in cyber,” he said. “The complexity and interdependencies of our digital modernization and adversary use of cyber means it is more critical each day that we place cyber security first.”
The department, he said, is countering cybersecurity threats with a broad range of tools and policies, as it works closely with U.S. Cyber Command, federal agencies, mission partners and industry.
Enterprise Cloud System Supports Warfighter
Deasy, who is leading the department’s cloud initiative, said the department needs an enterprise cloud system that allows flexibility in deciding where to place workloads, as well as ensuring the continuity of those workloads.
“Enterprise cloud will lay the foundation for so many future warfighter capabilities,” he said.
He outlined the need for consistent infrastructure for managing both classified and unclassified data. The platform must encourage an “enterprise approach to developing cloud-aware applications,” he said.
Over time, the Defense Department will fully leverage the benefits of a multicloud, multivendor environment, he said. The department currently operates with multiple clouds, but that capability is “disparate and disjointed,” he said. He added that DoD lacks “true enterprise capability that will deliver the efficiencies and the scale that the department needs.”
The CIO pointed out there is a “full, top-down, bottom-up review” of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, JEDI, effort, which is seeking an enterprisewide cloud infrastructure to ensure warfighters have access to real-time, mission-critical data.
Technology Solutions for Warfighters
On artificial intelligence, Deasy highlighted the creation of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. He described it as another significant effort for the department, saying it will help DoD advance its ability to organize for AI capability delivery and to learn as an enterprise.
“When I think about cloud, and AI, and all of the advanced capabilities we want to bring to the warfighter, I think about making sure the warfighter has the right comms and the right information at the right time,” he said. “And the same goes for our mission partners.”
On command and control, Deasy explained the department’s digital modernization will ensure updates to the nuclear triad are matched with modern and secure command and control systems. “I have directed my staff to stay in lockstep with U.S. Strategic Command as we go forward on this,” he stated.
Deasy, who has been in the job for two months, serves as the principal staff assistant and senior advisor to the secretary of defense and deputy secretary of defense for information technology.
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)