Nuke agency powers up staff with mobile tools, new processes

Laptops, smoother operating environment to boost productivity and effectiveness

The government agency responsible for detecting and tracking down weapons of mass destruction is revamping its networks and creating a more mobile work environment by providing its staff with laptop computers. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency also is digitizing its archives and developing knowledge management techniques to help its personnel access and share information, a top DOD official said Aug. 9.

DTRA’s mission is to counter weapons of mass destruction by preventing their deployment, detecting deployed weapons and/or mitigating the results of an attack, said Stephen Broughall, the agency’s CIO at the AFCEA Warfighter Support IT Day, in Vienna, Va.

DTRA, which is responsible for enforcing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, conducts extensive field work, with teams of mixed civilian and military personnel working at remote sites or at its 25 international facilities.

Because DTRA employees work globally, they have a constant need to reach back to the agency to access databases. The agency operates multiple databases in a variety of media, including a trove of World War II-era nuclear weapons research documentation. Moving all of this information into a digital format is challenging, Broughall said.

DTRA officials are working to improve the experience of its end users. One concern is improving the agency’s IT infrastructure, which due to various security layers, provides users with a relatively slow operating experience, Broughall said.

They also are looking at ways to increase knowledge management and information sharing between its dispersed personnel. As part of this, they are looking into options for mobile computing, social networking and telework.

In fact, the agency plans to phase out desktops and moving its personnel entirely to laptop computers, once the security issues have been addressed, Broughall said.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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