June 7, 2018

NextGen Infrastructure and What It Means to the DOD?

By Stephanie Meloni, consultant, and Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

As the DOD sheds dated legacy systems and reduces its data center footprint, it has a lot to gain from NextGen infrastructure. Flexible and more powerful technology options offer faster migration paths and the ability to address challenges that have long persisted.

Interoperability between classification levels and flattening of infrastructure between domains is essential to supporting the warfighter. Cyber warfare continues to grow in importance as does the need for automating cyber defense. As complex as DOD systems tend to be, vendors need to put the user first and make ease-of-use a top priority.

Here are some highlights from a recent DOD trends and directions briefing immixGroup hosted:

  1. Technology needs to be easy

Across the department, a lot of DOD IT decision makers lament how complex and cumbersome many of the IT systems and solutions have become. Not every end-user is an IT specialist – sometimes it’s a soldier on the edge. Time-sensitive operations need solutions that just work. The DOD needs analysts deriving decisions from critical data – not manually writing scripts, configuring tools and finessing data.

We’re calling simplified, easy-to-use, more automated solutions instinctive technology – and it’s proving to be a real differentiator as we go into FY18. Instinctive technology includes both simple user-friendliness alongside a minimal need for hands-on manual tweaking. Whether the discussion is about a network awareness tool, software-defined networking or cloud, the DOD is asking for instinctive solutions at every level, from big enterprise service branch systems to a mission system at a combatant command. 

  1. Get ready for cyber warfare

The DOD IT community certainly knows the growing role of CYBERCOM – the U.S. Cyber Command. With its ascension to full command status, a heavy emphasis is placed on cyber warfare. CYBERCOM has a big role in influencing cyber defense protocols and policy across the department – the respective service components such as ARCYBER, MARFORCYBER, the 24th Air Force, and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command will roll up under CYBERCOM.

  1. Multi-domain solutions are imperative

DOD service branches, combatant commands and agencies work with a wide variety of partners, including internal DOD partners, the intelligence community, civilian agencies and allied partner nations. There is an astounding number of networks and multiple classification levels. Various stakeholders within and outside of the DOD need to be able to share information, communicate and operate across all domains.

Multi-domain solutions are now crucial – DOD leaders want “domain on-demand” capability. That means tools should no longer be limited by domain. If a DOD component is operating in a contested domain, the ability to rely on others would bolster warfighting capability. It’s going to affect everything from networking and infrastructure management; to command and control applications integration; to data collection and analysis. Multi-domain operations are all about getting the right information (regardless of what domain it’s originating from) to battlespace decision makers in the right time frame. It’s really key in FY18 and beyond, no matter your specific DOD customer.

For a deeper dive into DOD’s trends and directions, watch this video.

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This blog originally appeared on immixGroup’s Government Sales Insider blog.