AF IT Day: Lt. Gen. Hawkins says DISA will launch JIE, but not operate it

The Defense Information Systems Agency will play a key role in launching the Defense Department's next-generation virtual information sharing zone known as the Joint Information Environment (JIE), but it will not actually run it, DISA Director Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins said Oct. 11.

The goal of the JIE is to provide a secure space where commanders from all of the services and with varying security levels can quickly and safely share information. The JIE is also defined by what it is not, said Hawkins, who spoke at Air Force IT Day. It is not a formal program, a turnkey solution or a different way to conduct command and control.

Because all of the DOD’s services are contributing to the development of the JIE, each will share part of the management and operating costs of the environment, Hawkins said. 

But to help get the JIE up and running, DISA is helping to coordinate the development of several key parts. These areas include enterprise identity management, which will permit user access based on their mission and operational roles, and enterprise portal services to control and manage access to the JIE. If the portal service is done properly, the efficiencies created by the process could save the individual services “a boatload of money,” Hawkins said.

Another part of the JIE that is an offshoot of continuing DISA efforts is the plan to move to “everything over IP.” The goal of this process is to replace legacy hardware such as phone switches and desktop telephones and computers. By removing thick clients and replacing them with thin client or mobile devices, DISA plans to save money and put in place the architecture for systems like the JIE, Hawkins said.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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