Magazine article National Defense

Army Seeks to Simplify, Create More Interoperability for Information Systems

Magazine article National Defense

Army Seeks to Simplify, Create More Interoperability for Information Systems

Article excerpt

Army information technology modernization will focus on simplification, standardization and interoperability.

Common requirements and shared services will be used for cost savings, and this is reflected in a bold cut to the Army's proposed IT budget of $7.49 billion for fiscal year 2015. The request is more than $700 million lower than fiscal year 2014 for development, modernization and enhancement, which means the service will focus much less on new systems.

The strategy behind this budget cut includes collapsing and simplifying networks and retiring legacy systems. With fewer maintenance-heavy networks and legacy systems, the Army aims to free up funds for other efforts. An enterprise approach to IT modernization in business systems, cyber security and tactical networks will allow the Army to make its systems more user-friendly.

The service is seeking to operate as one enterprise and make the architecture better able to share data.

Shared services are a top priority. To increase operational cost savings, the Army plans to use the Defense Information Systems Agency to provide most of its shared services. The Army has already moved over to DISA for enterprise email. DISA also will be used for unified capabilities and data center consolidation.

Unified capabilities include voice over IP communications and video teleconferencing. DISA, the Army and the Air Force already have put out two requests for information to vet commercial solutions. They are currently working on how to move data out of Army data centers and into private clouds securely. This is causing a bit of a delay with procurements. Government officials said the request for proposals for unified capabilities will likely not happen until fiscal year 2015.

DISA will be used to host Army data in core data centers. The Army data center consolidation effort has closed upwards of 285 centers, exceeding its goals. Army officials said these efforts might slow down as the service focuses more on applications rationalization before moving data to DISA core data centers. In the future, it's going to be more about optimization and less about consolidation.

The Army's partnership with DISA and the Air Force is also part of the joint information environment concept. This is a major driver of all these consolidation, standardization and convergence projects--from shared services to security and network modernization. …

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