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American Forces Press Service

Officials Discuss Cybernet Transformation Efforts

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2012 – Defense officials gathered at the National Press Club yesterday discussed DOD efforts to transform its cyber operations into cloud computing technology that’s envisioned to provide added agility, security and cost effectiveness.

Robert J. Carey, DOD’s principal deputy chief information officer; Grant M. Schneider, Defense Intelligence Agency deputy director for information management and CIO; and Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr., Defense Information Systems Agency director, comprised the discussion panel at the 3rd Annual Billington Cybersecurity Summit here.

The discussion included presentation of the DOD’s cloud computing strategy that transforms the department’s redundant and costly current network applications silos to an end state that ideally fosters a more agile, secure, and cost effective service environment.

Cloud computing is a converged infrastructure that allows greater application set-up and speed with improved manageability and reduced maintenance, enabling technicians to more quickly adjust to and protect against threats, officials said. DISA has been named enterprise cloud service broker maintaining mission assurance and information interoperability within the strategy.

The speakers agreed that an enterprise cloud environment offers tangible benefits.

“There’s a great recognition in the importance of this space in our business,” Carey said. “Going to cloud computing is a product of consolidating and standardizing the infrastructure and [enables us to] really thrive off those savings.”

Though developed in an era of fiscal constraint, the strategy also offers a roadmap to the creation of department core data centers, he said, and future budget cycles should include appropriate funding for ongoing cybersecurity growth and training.

“The resources are drawing down and drying up,” Hawkins said of current budget concerns. “The true issue … is that there is … an initial start-up cost to get there.”

Both a consumer and provider of infrastructure services across the intelligence community and DOD, Schneider examined what will likely be required in years to come in order to optimize cloud computing and data consolidation.

“As we drive towards more standardization and more normalization … at a very tactical level [with] more interconnectivity … doing it in ways that [are] generally headed in the same direction from enterprise architecture is absolutely critical,” Schneider said.

Equally important are the people who will be implementing these strategies and methods, Hawkins said.

“[We’ve got to] look at standing up the right academic setting,” Hawkins said. “We are trying to build that capability from a joint perspective within the cyber workforce.”

In training, the overall goal is to teach people to react in what Carey calls “internet speed” with a sharper focus on skill sets rather than rank or professional origin.

“We’re moving toward proficiency-based training,” Carey said. “Training a defender like an attacker and an attacker like a defender is a really important skill set. It works in football and it’ll work in this game too.”

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