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FCW : July 30, 2015
July 30, 2015 FCW.COM 23 “If you want to talk to the innovative companies and get them involved ini- tially, and keep their interest, we have to start making investments really in a three- to six-month window. And the good news [is] they don’t have to be big investments,” he said, adding that investments of well under $1 million could yield breakthrough research for DOD. The learning flowed both ways on Halvorsen’s trip. He said some in Silicon Valley were surprised to learn just how much the Pentagon spends annually on IT ($35.9 billion in fiscal 2015, accord- ing to Halvorsen’s office) and the ripple effect that such investments can have in the defense industry. DOD’s nascent outreach office in Sili- con Valley — the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUX) — will be a focal point for how the department interacts with entrepreneurs. Officials have said the office will be staffed by both active-duty military and civilian personnel, though Halvorsen said it remains to be seen whether his office will have someone full-time at DIUX. Noting that Silicon Valley is both a physical place and a metaphor, he said he also plans to visit other tech hubs such as Boston and New York. Managing DISA’s workload Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman, the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s director of com- mand, control, communications and computers/cyber, said recently that he was concerned DISA might have too much on its plate right now given that it is handling mobile security for DOD and running the relatively new Joint Force Headquarters DOD Information Network (JFHQ DODIN), among other things. When asked if he shared Bowman’s concern, Halvorsen said, “I’m always concerned about the workload that I have going [on] at DISA,” adding that he continually evaluates DISA’s portfo- lio and the extent to which it should be involved in certain projects. Data storage is one area in which DISA’s role is shifting. Halvorsen said he wants private firms to be able to store DOD data of various security levels. Sharing that responsibility with the private sector would free up more resources for DISA to put toward run- ning JFHQ DODIN, he added. He is fond of comparing the Pentagon to an immense, federated corporation and invoked that analogy in describing how he will scrutinize DISA’s portfolio. “This is not a onetime evaluation,” he said. “Most businesses constantly look at where their market space is and what they should be doing.” It is a trade-off between “where do we put our internal assets and where do we leverage industry, and that’s going to change, particularly in the IT/cyber business,” he added. Taking charge of JFHQ DODIN is not the only transition underway at DISA. Army Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn will replace Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins as director of the agency this summer. As DISA’s vice director, Lynn has worked closely with Halvorsen, who said Lynn shares his vision of constantly evaluating DISA’s portfolio. Halvorsen has told agency leaders that he wants to see a “completely com- mercial option” for the next version of DISA’s unclassified enterprise email service. That approach would free up even more DISA resources as it grapples with its evolving role as the Pentagon’s IT infrastructure agency. n JRSS “If that type of combination of compute and intelligent tool analysis really does produce, it’s game- changing in more ways than I can describe.” shakes ZAIDHAMID 0730fcw_022-023.indd 23 7/14/15 2:05 PM
July 15, 2015
August 15, 2015