Defense Information Systems Agency:DISA leadership panel speaks at FedNet 2017

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A panel of five Defense Information Systems Agency leaders took the stage to discuss their current priorities and initiatives during the Federal Networks 2017 event Feb. 15 in Fairfax, Virginia.

Jack Wilmer, vice director of the agency’s Development and Business Center, led the panel, which included: Jason Martin, services executive; Jessie Showers, infrastructure executive; Army COL Brian Lyttle, program executive officer for cyber; and Navy CAPT Craig “Al” Holstlander, services development director and program executive officer.

Each panel member provided an overview of their respective areas of responsibility and their mission priorities, to include: mobility and cyber communications, network services, DISA’s Computing Ecosystem, infrastructure, enterprise services, and cybersecurity.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of DISA,” said Showers. “We [Infrastructure] have a unique focus right now on mobility and cyber communications. While defining cyber [communication] is a work in progress; maintaining a global infrastructure that will be able to support that communication is equally important for all of our global customers.”

The subject of consolidating computing centers was also a topic of discussion. In the past 25 years, DISA has scaled back the number of data center from 192 to nine. However, each of those data centers has been operating independently, each with different standards, processes and costs.

“The Ecosystem itself is where we [DISA] are going with the future of computing,” Martin said.

DISA made a revolutionary change recently, organizing its nine data centers into eight lines of business in order to achieve more standardized and cost efficient computing services for all of the agency’s customers.

The panel fielded audience questions ranging from specific request for information-based questions to DISA’s efforts in cybersecurity and how industry can help DISA in the future.

“Cybersecurity is not episodic. We’re always being attacked, every day,” Lyttle said. Today’s cyber environment requires the ability to address vulnerabilities not in terms of days or even hours, but immediately and automatically.

Industry has tools and techniques out there that are interesting, Lyttle continued, “and we’re putting out some contracts this year industry should look at also.”

While each panel member spoke about their mission areas and DISA’s commitment to building strong partnerships with industry, the need for greater efficiencies within DISA and industry was a running theme.

“We need to consolidate things. The budget is simply not getting bigger,” said Holtslander. “We need to be smarter with how we do things. From an Ecosystem and infrastructure standpoint, or just from getting shared services aligned across larger portfolios, we need to modernize the force. We need to be designing smarter for the future.”

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Robert Williams

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Karl William

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