The Defense Information Systems Agency’s chief technology officer, David Mihelcic, is retiring after a 30-plus year career in government.
Mihelcic, as a technologist, has advocated for reforming the Defense Department's acquisition process in favor of getting technology solutions into the hands of operators faster. Last summer he stressed the need for a needs-driven acquisition process, as opposed to a requirements-driven process under which the department currently operates.
“If we can then buy a technology and determine that there is an unfulfilled need, whether or not that’s a documented requirement or not, we need to be able to move that quickly in acquisition,” he said, citing Defense Innovation Unit Experimental as a desirable model.
DoD components could approach DIUx with a need, bring funds — for which DIUx could match — and DIUx will do a very abbreviated announcement of what they’re interested in with a follow-on operational evaluation, Mihelcic explained. Depending on how the solution performs in the evaluation and potential deployment in a real-world environment or network, a sole-source solicitation could follow, he added.
Also a proponent of DISA’s pushing the envelope in high technology, he spoke to some of the progress DISA has made in these areas, one being upgrading the big-data platform, which was developed along with Army Cyber Command and is the technology that underlies the Cybersecurity Situational Awareness Analytic Cloud.
The upgrade will allow for greater analytic and tailored decision-making capability.
This update provided the ability “to be able to essentially fork a copy of some or all of the data that’s in the big data cloud and be able to run custom analytics on top of it that can be mission focused, that don’t necessarily interact with the rest of the platform,” Mihelcic said in June. This will create the benefit of taking either commercially developed anaytics or analytics operated in the field and running them against some or all of that data "without necessarily having it interact with the purpose-build and certified core analytics."
Mihelcic will be leaving DISA before the end of February.