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Jennifer Carter, component acquisition executive for the Defense Information Systems Agency
Jennifer Carter, component acquisition executive for the Defense Information Systems Agency ()

The Defense Information Systems Agency is positioning itself to be the military’s source for mobile, cloud and other enterprise services.

Jennifer Carter, DISA’s component acquisition executive, has a role in ensuring the successful rollout of these services and acquisition oversight for all DISA products, services and programs.

Key to the agency’s success as an enterprise service provider is getting buy-in from the military services and other DoD components, Carter said. One way is playing up the economies of scale and efficiencies offered from departmentwide services.

“We already meet the security requirements,” she said about DISA offerings. “So, somebody else doesn’t have to go try to leverage a commercial offering and then build in the security requirements in that.”

“The price point really drops when you get a very large number of users,” Carter said of DISA’s enterprise services. “So, we need to be able to commit to a large number of users to be able to get those reduced prices.”

C4ISR & Networks spoke with Carter recently. Following are edited excerpts:

Q: How has DISA’s role as the department’s enterprise service provider for mobile, cloud and other areas evolved over the past year, and how do you see that role expanding over the current year?

A: The enterprise service role is really critical to efficiencies at the overall DoD level. Not just efficiencies but security, maintaining a consistent security posture [for] all the objectives of JIE [the Joint Information Environment]. On mobility there are particular security aspects. You’ve got to assess every new technology and product and solution that you move in that space. You’ve got to do a lot of work to set up an application store and the business model for that. So, why do that five times for every one of the services or even pieces of the services? Why not do that once on behalf of everybody, get a consistent security posture, get some efficiencies? And so, that’s really the model.

Q: In the areas that you mention, does DISA have the better, faster, cheaper, more secure option than what’s provided in the commercial sector?

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A: Remember, DoD requirements are a little different than the open commercial sector. So, if we’re going to compare what DISA offers to the open commercial sector, one has to remember that we also have security requirements that we have to meet. We’ve got unique government terms and conditions of things. So, for example, we can’t put government data in a commercial cloud that spreads the data across a whole wide range of content that’s then available openly, right? So that’s an issue depending on the level of sensitivity of the data for DoD. There are different requirements from a DoD perspective, and we have to make sure that when we buy commercial that we can still meet the requirements for DoD and the policy for DoD.

Q: In terms of the Mobile Implementation Plan that came out earlier this year, it listed three phases. Can you talk about the progress?

A: With the award of the MDM/MAS [Mobile Device Management/Mobile Application Store], clearly we’re moving into another scope [from] what was a pilot and had a limited set of users that we could support. It’s still in the test phase. As we roll that out, and the plan is to have that finished by earlier calendar year ’14, we’ll be able to scale up considerably on capacity. We’ll also improve security features. And then, the application store will be able to be available to folks. And people will start being able to put their applications in the applications store, and then extend the capabilities that they’ll have on their devices. So, that’s all part of what we consider IOC, initial operating capability, which we expect to reach in the beginning of the first quarter of calendar year ’14.

Q: Initial operating capability will provide growth capacity up to 100,000 devices in fiscal 2014 and then transition operations to subscription services. So, you all are confident that you’re going to meet the IOC requirement?

A: You’re not instantly at 100,000 users. You’re scaling it up because you have to migrate folks into that service, right? So, the capacity is going to be available and it’s going to continue to grow as we move through fiscal year ’14. And we’re going to work with the services and others to bring folks onto that service offering over time through ’14. We’ll migrate them on just like [we] migrate folks onto all our existing enterprise services.

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