Joint Staff re-establishes J6 directorate with many new responsibilities

The Joint Staff has re-established it’s J6 directorate, approximately two years after it was axed by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates “due to the increased importance of and dependence upon information technology and the networks,” according to a March 29 memorandum.

MG Mark Bowman is the new director of the J6, with responsibility for joint command, control, communications and computers (C4)/cyber requirements, operations, capabilities and integration. Bowman — who moved to the Joint Staff in January from his job as director of architecture, operations, networks and space in the Army CIO/G-6 office — now reports to the CJCS.

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The re-established J6 has significantly increased responsibilities over the prior J6. All functions and resources previously consolidated under the deputy director for C4 (DDC4) were transferred to the J6 director, including the chair of the Military Communications-Electronics Board. Those resources include C2 integration personnel from Joint Forces Command’s J8 office, who were transferred to DDC4 after JFCOM was disbanded.

Additionally, the J6 director will serve as the Joint Staff CIO (a job that previously fell under the Joint Staff vice director), as well as director of the Joint Staff Information Technology Transformation. As such, all personnel who provide day-to-day IT services for SIPRNet and NIPRNet now work for the new J6 directorate.

These actions are cost neutral and will be accomplished within the existing Joint Staff resources, according to Bowman, and personnel moves from the former Joint Staff J6 to the Defense Department CIO and U.S. Cyber Command will not be reversed or affected.

With these new responsibilities in his lane, Bowman is also leading DOD’s efforts to develop a “Future Joint Information Enterprise.”

Bowman discussed the rationale behind the re-establishment of the Joint Staff’s J6 directorate with Defense Systems, beginning with over-arching trends driving change.

“We have had three significant changes over the last 10 years. They are: The dependence on the network has never been higher; the cyber threat continues to get more common yet more severe and more pervasive than it ever was before; and the physical environment is demanding IT efficiency (while at the same time) we are going to have less money to spend of everything to include IT.”

Besides the transfer of CIO functions to the J6, there are a variety of specific reasons for the re-establishment of the J6, according to Bowman. One of them is to co-lead DOD’s “IT effectiveness” effort with Teri Takai’s Office of the Secretary of Defense CIO office.

A second reason is to work with the military services and various combatant commands to develop an enterprise IT environment where everything travels over the IP environment.

“This is a significant change to the way we had done things in the past where everybody worked in their own stovepipe,” said Bowman. “To transition to everything over IP we could take the approach where we stop what we are doing and reprogram ongoing efforts such as data-center consolidation, enterprise email and unified communications, or we can capitalize on the efforts that the services are already working on and that are already funded for the next couple year by going in (with an everything over IP strategy) in an effective and deliberate manner.”

The third reason is to transform IT on the Joint Staff, according to Bowman.

“There are ways that we can be more effective and efficient, and we are driving to do those now. These include rationalizing applications, doing away with applications that aren’t used enough or are too costly to maintain, consolidating buys on IT equipment and reviewing all IT contracts, and moving to thin clients. That all lines up with everything over IP," he said.

“So this Joint Staff J6 is a much different organization than the J6 one in the past.”

About the Author

Barry Rosenberg is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryDefense.

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