JIE will help realign, restructure, modernize the DoD network

JIE will help realign, restructure, modernize the DoD network

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Joint Information Environment (JIE) will provide much-needed additional security and efficiency for military cyber operations, experts said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Hot Topic forum on Army networks.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, USA, Ret., president and partner at A.T. Kearney Public Sector & Defense Services, and a former Army CIO/G-6, described the JIE as a multi-year effort focused on how to realign, restructure and modernize the DoD network.

The vision is to ensure civilian leadership, military commanders, warfighters and coalition partners have secure access to information and data, he said.

There are inherent challenges in designing and deploying any joint capability.

One area of particular concern over the last 12 months has been the DoD cybersecurity posture, Sorenson noted, “specifically the need to reduce cyber vulnerabilities” by creating department-wide policies and procedures.

The top threats and challenges for the Army are similar to those of the other services, said Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell, chief information officer, G-6.

“Number one, we have too many separate and disparate networks that fall back into the legacy world,” he said. This creates management inefficiency and “back doors for our enemies to get into.”

Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell, chief information officer, G-6, said at the Hot Topic forum, ‘We have too many separate and disparate networks.’

Ferrell said the JIE will establish “one infrastructure, one security standard, one architecture that will allow us to harden the network.”

The Army is engaging in three lines of effort for cybersecurity: hardening the network, hardening the devices, and hardening the data, Ferrell said.

Network modernization “has taken off at light speed,” he said.

“Today, the Army has migrated 13 installations [to the JIE]. By the end of this year, we should achieve 19, and by the end of FY 17, we will have 44 installations migrated and with upgraded capacity,” Ferrell said.

Adding, “It’s a game changer.”

Ferrell noted that another important step is network convergence – absorbing old or redundant systems into the JIE.

“We’ve recently collapsed the [Army] Reserve network into the Army Enterprise Network, and we’re working with the [National] Guard to do that next,” he said.

Regarding the devices, Ferrell pointed to the Windows 10 migration as a major effort that will offer more security and efficiency across the board, “not just for the Army, but for the entire Department of Defense.”

He said that by the second quarter of next year, the Army will have finished the Windows 10 upgrade in Europe.

Hardening the data means consolidating the Army’s data centers, Ferrell said. “In CONUS, we’re looking to only have four enduring sites, and abroad, six enduring sites,” he said.

Right now, the number of data centers is in the hundreds.

The Army is also examining the possibilities of standing up a private cloud, Ferrell said, providing another option for storing data.