By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON – The reshaping of the Defense Department’s premiere information technology agency is vital to how it will improve its agility and employ its capabilities for the future, the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency said here yesterday.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr. discussed the agency’s reorganization and the five “C’s” of the capabilities and services DISA provides during a panel discussion with the local Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association chapter.
“We believe we’ve got to be agile in how it is we move about and employ our information technology for the future for the Department of Defense,” he said. “That is the primary reason for what it is we are doing, how it is that we’re doing it, and where it is that we will go.”
Four Areas of Focus
The general discussed four areas DISA’s senior leadership has looked at based on issues he observed both internally and externally: a singular point of entry to engage the organization, speed to market, adaptability and agility.
“Some of the things that I’ve heard [are] that DISA costs too much and DISA is too slow delivering speed to market,” Hawkins explained. “So those are the things that we have been working on, and when I say ‘we,’ I mean the entire agency.
“The speed to market we have to have,” he continued. “The adaptability and the agility, … we want to make sure that we’re doing that within the Defense Information Systems Agency.”
Hawkins said the agency has been working on these areas since June to ensure DISA remains competitive in how it provides “superior” information technology to the warfighter, and that that the agency is the “first place that they’re going to come from within the Department of Defense to deliver those IT capabilities.”
Five “C’s” of DISA
Hawkins said when he thinks of DISA he categorizes what the agency does into five “C’s,” the first one being “cyber.”
“And when we start looking at what we have to do in defense of cyberspace operations,” he said, “we’ve got to have that cyber sovereignty that the Department of Defense expects from us.”
The next C, Hawkins said, is “cloud,” acknowledging that DISA still has areas to deliver on in that area. The third is “collaboration,” which he described as “everything that we’re doing in the mobile and collaboration environments and unified capabilities — all of those things are tied into that third C.
The fourth and fifth C’s are command and control, Hawkins said. “We are not going to get rid of that,” he added. “We are the premier organization that does that for the Department of Defense.”
Additionally, Hawkins said, DISA has aligned its contracting organization under its component acquisition executive to streamline the agency and all that it has to do from a requirements perspective, and to align with the Defense Department’s Better Buying Power initiative.
The general cautioned that the reorganization will not done overnight.
“While we snapped the chalk line and said, ‘We’ve started this on Jan. 11,’ we believe we are on a journey here to get this done,” Hawkins said. “We do not believe that we’re going to get it done in the next month. Although we do believe we’ve got some time ahead of us to make that work, I would tell you by the end of this calendar year, we should be solidly ensconced into this reorganization such that we are working at cyber speed for where we want to go.”
The general said he has studied numerous organizations that have undergone reorganization.
“We believe we’re in that same lane and timeframe,” he said, “and look forward to working with you as we move forward.”
Partnerships with industry are vital to the effort, he told the group. “We enjoy that, we believe in it and we know that is the way that we have got to go,” he added.