DoD Joint Information Environment taking cues from EUCOM, AFRICOM


The Defense Department's forthcoming Joint Information Environment will build upon the Joint Enterprise Network, an existing Army, Defense Information Systems Agency, European Command and Africa Command initiative, according to defense officials.

A DoD summit in Europe the week of Sept. 10 "really represents a handoff," said Rear Adm. David Simpson, vice director of DISA, during a Sept. 13 AFCEA DC event in Arlington, Va.

"Over the last two years those cocoms have done a great job at articulating, centered around their mission, what is the larger goal of the JIE," he said. "We have a very good degree of maturity around the transport layer of JEN and a couple of data center collapsing efforts."

Because of the progress abroad, EUCOM and AFRICOM will lead "increment one" of the JIE in order to leverage what's already been defined and executed in JEN, said Simpson. This not only takes advantage of low-hanging fruit to achieve some of JIE's capability, but will also tease out the challenges that could arise in future increments, he said.

Maj. Gen. Jennifer Napper, formerly commander general of Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command, soon to assume a position as director of plans and policy at Cyber Command, said it is very likely JIE will be harder to implement across the continental United States, or CONUS.

"It seems to me that it's really easy in the overseas areas to look at enclaves that are clearly purple, [or 'joint,'] whether it's all of Europe, Korea, Japan," said Napper. "Everything between them is already operated by DISA. So, we should really go after those first and figure out how to get everything in CONUS to go into the JIE."

"I think it would be easier in some place like Europe--certainly much easier in some place like Korea or Japan. When you start getting inside CONUS it gets a little more complicated," she said. "There are some equities that are going to be challenging for some folks to give up."

The Joint Information Environment aims to create a set of standards and an architectural construct that will facilitate jointness among all services' networks. But the challenge of JIE is made even more difficult by the current budget environment.

"There's no new money for this effort," said Simpson. "So, the synchronization of being able to replace an existing IT capability in the department, an existing service, sunset that and then repurpose that toward the next element in this joint information environment is really the key piece."

For more:
- listen to audio from the event

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