Army close to making decision on data centers

Tuesday - 11/4/2008, 10:39am EST

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
FederalNewsRadio

The Army will make a decision about how it will move forward with its data centers by Nov. 14.

Bob Golden, the program manager for the Network Service Centers, which runs the data centers, says the Army is considering three options:

  • Owned and operated by Network Enterprise Technology Command
  • Use data centers run by the Defense Information Systems Agency
  • Buy data center services from industry

Golden, who spoke Monday at a lunch sponsored by the Washington, D.C. chapter of AFCEA, says the latter two options for the data centers, known Area Processing Centers (APC), will make industry happy.

The Army has been consolidating data centers over the past few years. The goal is to reduce the number from more than 400 to about six across the United States.

Golden says beyond the APCs, the Network Service Centers are looking for several different new technologies that could hook up to the Defense Department's classified network, known as SIPRnet.

The Army wants to buy secure thin client systems and secure wireless technology that would end the requirement of putting computer hard drives that hold classified information into safes.

Golden also says the Army wants telework software that would let military personnel use their home computers to log on to the DoD network without introducing any vulnerabilities.

"Maybe we would work off a USB or CD so we would isolate the PC's hard drive," Golden says.

He adds that a working group is developing a plan for the future for the Defense Messaging System for the Army, which provides secure e-mail and directory services.

Beyond network services, the Army also is focusing on biometrics.

Col. Theodore Jennings, the program manager for DoD biometrics, says a recent memo from Defense undersecretary John Young made biometrics a program of record.

"The Defense acquisition executive has put a special emphasis on the program and the delivery of its capabilities," Jennings says. "It's the highest acquisition category you can have. From our perspective, that means lot of oversight, lot of help in a good way to make sure capability is absolutely delivered to the warfighter as opposed to languishing out in development or staffing process."

Jennings says the DoD Biometric Task Force will act as a governance body to help determine what capabilities are required across all of DoD.

"There is a series of requirement documents being put together," he says. "The capability production document is going to the joint staff and that will help lead us to future capabilities."

Jennings adds his office will seek approval from DoD to expand the use of specific biometric tools such as the Biometric Automated Tool Set (BAT-A) or the Handheld Interagency Identification Detection Equipment (HIDE).

"This technology tends to move faster that we can implement," says Gary Winkler, the Army's program executive officer, enterprise information systems.

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Department of Army -Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems

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