DISA pushes new capabilities to the tactical edge

Deployable capabilities support forces in low bandwidth areas

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is working to extend enterprise services to warfighters operating in remote areas at the tactical edge of military communications and data networks, a senior official said at the Network Enabled Operations Conference in Alexandria, Va., on Jan. 24.

To better provide services to the edges of the Defense Department’s (DOD) networks, DISA is shifting its focus from an enterprise-centric approach that pushed information out to the edge from data centers located in the United States, said David Bennett, program executive officer in charge of Global Information Grid enterprise services at DISA. The new model is globally based, supporting disconnected, intermittent and low bandwidth user environments by moving data from the edge to the core, he said.

Supporting users at the end of the last tactical mile requires deployable enterprise services, Bennett said. These in-theater services allow users to download applications locally, which is important for warfighters in disconnected or limited connectivity environments.

To provide overall network integration that allows for more seamless service, DISA is working on its Joint Command and Control architecture. The architecture will ensure that information-sharing capabilities are built into DOD service community strategies, Bennett said.

DISA is also working on new capabilities such as enterprise messaging, which will be included in a deployable package designed to support tactical users. The deployable enterprise services are a set of preconfigured capabilities designed to provide warfighters with services and connectivity from the edge to the core. These services are also configured to synchronize and work with enterprise services when connectivity is available, he said.

Other DISA capabilities include enterprise services management that can be customized to meet user requirements and enterprise search, which is deployable on tactical enclave or ship hardware, Bennett said. He said the search capability was created on Intelink, the intelligence community’s information sharing network. This allows vetted users to search both DOD and intelligence community databases.

DISA is also developing identity and access management capabilities that can be used by DOD command and control systems and services. One area focuses on attribute-based access control that allows administrators to dynamically manage access control based on changing user roles and needs. These capabilities provide for strong authentication and are traceable back to the user, Bennett said.

In the near future, DISA is looking at a joint e-mail system that will provide a single DOD enterprise with global email access and a global directory service, Bennett said. The agency will also provide joint enterprise SharePoint that will be globally accessible and access enterprise identity management services.

Another upcoming capability is joint enterprise file sharing that will become available this year and consist of a network file storage and sharing capability that can be accessed by DOD users in major facilities or in forward operating posts, he said.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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