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DoD CIO Takai drops the hammer: All services must implement enterprise email

Sep. 17, 2013

The Department of Defense has ordered the U.S. military to use DoD Enterprise Email (DEE), according to a Sept. 5 memo from CIO Teresa Takai.

Takai stated that the DEE is now a Department of Defense Enterprise Service, and will be included in the Information Enterprise Architecture.

“As a result of this Enterprise Service designation, all DoD Components are tasked to develop a DEE Implementation Plan within 120 days of the signature date of this memorandum,” said the memo, which was addressed to Department of Defense leaders and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“The memo directs all services to develop a plan to implement enterprise email within 120 days, and there’s no escape clause,” said LTG Mark Bowman, the Joint Staff J6 who is director of command, control, communications and computers, speaking Thursday at AFCEA Nova’s Joint Warfighter IT Day.

“We have the capacity to scale to 4.5 million users, and we are at 1.5 million users now with the OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense), Joint Staff, Army and DISA,” said DISA Director Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins Jr., speaking to reporters at the conference.

Hawkins declined to speculate on what enterprise email options might exist for the Navy beyond that provided by DISA, but said all services must “be in Defense Enterprise Email by FY15 or provide a reason why [not].” The Navy, for example, has pushed back for more than a year on moving to DISA’s enterprise email, saying that it already has enterprise capability through NMCI.

Implementation plans must identify and inventory existing NIPRNet and SIPRNet email capabilities, and must begin the transition no later than the first quarter of FY 2015.

DEE “reduces the cost of operations and maintenance by consolidating hardware, as well as operations and support teams,” Takai noted in her memo. It also “provides a shared directory that includes all members of the Department, it provides a common platform for the DoD to coordinate across geographically dispersed and diverse organizations, as well as plan and schedule cross organizational meetings.”

DEE can support email for 4.5 million users and a global address list scaled to support 10 million objects, such as common access card personas and non person entities, according to the Defense Information Systems Agency. Its modular design allows the Department of Defense to grow quickly. To mitigate catastrophic failure, DISA replicates data between paired sites.

Deputy Army CIO Mike Krieger said last March that the Army has almost completed its migration to DEE, with more than 1 million users moved. He noted the concerns of Army National Guard and Reserve users regarding access of their mobile devices to DEE, and reassured them that the Army was working on solutions for mobiles.

While DEE may cut costs, the savings may not be as great as anticipated. In a February 2012 report to Congress, the Army stated that an audit by the Army Audit Agency found that instead of predicted savings of $100 million per year, actual savings would be between $76 million and $86 million from 2013 to 2017.

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