Defense IT

DOD making the move to its new online collaboration platform

The Defense Department is in the final stages of moving to a new, cloud-based network collaboration tool, giving DOD users three months to make the move.

The current collaboration service, Defense Connect Online, has been a valuable tool for DOD users, allowing them to communicate and share information securely via instant messaging, low bandwidth text chat and web conferencing. 

However, DOD will shut down DCO in late June and replace it with a new system called Defense Collaboration Services. DOD users are being advised to move to DCS no later than May 30.

DCS will operate very similarly to DCO, providing users with stand-alone chat service with audio and video conferencing along with screen sharing, polling and multi-user chat room and Web conferencing capabilities. Like DCO, DCS will provide service on both the Sensitive but Unclassified Internet Protocol Network (NIPRNet) and the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet).

Some members of the DOD community have already transitioned to the new DCS system, which has been fully operational since Jan. 30, 2015.   

Since 2007-2008, when DCO was initially launched, it has been lauded by officials as a popular and secure communication tool despite capacity limitations. In 2013, the program grew to 800,000 users, forcing the Defense Information Systems Agency, which manages both DCO and DCS, to double its capacity in order to avoid poor performance during times of high demand. A big reason for the growth was DCO’s increased use for Web conferencing, as DOD sought to cut down on travel and conference expenses.

DCS will leverage milCloud, DISA’s cloud-based service that aims to drive agility and security for online DOD platforms combining commercial and government technology, which will increase operational efficiencies through consolidating hardware, software and administrative resources.

Currently, DISA, the U.S. Transportation Command and the Joint Chiefs have concluded their transition to DCS while all other DOD users will have to save local copies of data from DCO and transfer them to DCS by May 30.  The full transition of the department from DCO to DCS will occur between March 1 and May 30.   

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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