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DoD CIO Awardees Excel in Cyber, IT

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2016 — The recipients of the 2016 Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Award for Cyber and Information Technology Excellence represent advancements in IT and cyber from the front lines of CIO organizations across DoD and from one of the DoD’s FVEYS (“Five Eyes”) international mission partners, according to DoD’s Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen.

“The DoD is blessed with an unbelievable amount of talented people. Teams are made of people and all of these accomplishments only work because of the people who brought them forward,” Halvorsen said yesterday at an award ceremony held at the Pentagon conference center here.

He said the winners delivered new mission capabilities and developed new technologies for warfighters, and worked to guide IT modernization and cost savings of over $1.2 billion.

This was the first year there was an allied award, Halvorsen said. The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence teamed up with the U.S. to form the Defense as a Platform/New Style of Information Technology team.

“This is a first for us. It is about joint and allies,” Halvorsen said. “This is the first time we have ever given an allied award, and it was very fitting. Mike Stone is my counterpart in the MOD; he’s my world partner. He asked me to have a US team over there helping and learning with a U.K. team. They’re taking all the MOD and U.K. government to some form of Microsoft 365 cloud distributed computer. At a point, DoD will need to go in this direction, where we have a distributed cloud. It’s very transformational and innovative.”

Guest speaker David Tillotson III, DoD’s assistant deputy chief management officer, said the purpose of the chief management officer is to improve the business practices of the department, human resources, logistics, supply chain, acquisition, medical and IT to some extent.

Tillotson lauded the team that won for producing an human resources app that saved time and money.

“If I can give you money, and you can find efficiencies on how the rest of the department does business, I’m in,” he said.

DoD’s Information Infrastructure

Halvorsen said the nominations displayed widespread dedication to the DoD CIO mission to lead the DoD Information Enterprise by defining a shared vision and driving the standard for the information infrastructure that supports warfighting, business and intelligence missions. He said they supported three primary DoD CIO objectives: facilitating the delivery of mission capabilities to the warfighter; supporting the development of new technology for the warfighter; and guiding IT modernization and cost savings.

There were six individual winners and eight team winners out of 125 nominations.

Individual Winners - Sharing Information, Helping War Efforts

-- Army Col. Neil K. Khatod, Network Operations Division, U.S. Central Command, Tampa, Florida. Khatod led and implemented the mission command communications plan and operationalization of the Mission Partner Environment for the U.S. and allies to conduct operations in Iraq and Syria for the counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fight. He used existing U.S., NATO and partner networks to increase coalition network capacity optimizing the information sharing capabilities of the Combined Joint Task Forces and saving approximately $30 million.

“Not only did they save money but this gave the people serving at the front better capability to hunt down ISIS,” Halvorsen said. “This was innovation at the edge, at the front, saving lives.”

-- Army Lt. Col. Michael Maharaj, Interoperability and Integration Division, Cyber Integration Section, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Maharaj designed and implemented an environment to test multinational defensive cyber operations on a coalition network. He incorporated a Multinational Security Operations Center into a coalition environment that proved collaboration and sharing of cyber defense information, tactics, techniques and procedures can be accomplished. This approach supported quantifiable measurement of threat cyber effects.

Next Generation App

-- Air Force Lt. Col. Michael A. Ortiz, chief digital officer, Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colorado. Ortiz led the creation and launch of the Air Force’s first Human Resources Mobile Application for Generations of Airmen in less than one year. Airmen can now use this mobile application and self-service interface to access their human resource data anywhere, anytime and on any device 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year.

Modernizing, Integrating

-- Army Col. Mark Orwat, chief, installation integration division, under the architecture, operations, networks and space directorate at Headquarters, Department of the Army. Orwat led and managed the strategy, planning and budgeting for modernizing, integrating and improving information technology, network operations and cybersecurity in 290 Army stateside and overseas bases and contingency operations. He synchronized resources and led integration efforts with major military construction projects to achieve significant cost savings. Thanks to Orwat’s efforts both the Army and Joint communications networks and enterprise services are more operationally effective, cost efficient and secure.

-- Carma Lynn Pollock, Air Force, Chief, Air Force Long Haul Communications Requirements Work Center, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Pollock earned the award for her leadership and technical expertise to enable mission-critical, net-centric communications across Air Force and Joint Tenant, Combatant Command mission and administrative systems. She transitioned 97 percent of the Air Force’s aging Asynchronous Transfer Mode network infrastructure, establishing a customer-based forum for Defense Information System Network information exchange and improvements and resolving critical fiscal strategy and cost recovery issues to avoid costs of nearly $900 million.

-- Carol Wortman, Army, chief, governance and architecture division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Wortman led the Army of Corps of Engineers to migrate from direct Internet connections to the non-classified Internet router protocol network, resulting in increased capacity, improved productivity, better cybersecurity and significantly reduced operating costs. She enabled further innovations and cost savings, including an Office 365 pilot for the Army and driving applications to DoD Data Centers and commercial cloud, which will position the organization to eliminate 55 data centers by fiscal year 2021 with a projected cost savings of $134 million.

Team Awards

-- Automated Remediation and Asset Discovery Team, Air Force. The Automated Remediation and Asset Discovery Team implemented endpoint management technology that enhanced defensive cyber operations capabilities across 700,000 Air Force enterprise assets. The team drove an unprecedented eight-month acquisition schedule to deliver tools that enable operators to identify and fix network vulnerabilities in seconds instead of weeks and the ability to detect, track, target, engage and mitigate adversarial activities in near real time. This solution can be leveraged across the federal enterprise.

-- J2 Coalition Information Sharing Team, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida. The Coalition Information Sharing team delivered a force multiplying, cost saving and reusable capability that concurrently supports four named operations across multiple combatant commands and implements a series of bilateral and multilateral networks connected to a trusted network environment. The team saved about $300 million this fiscal year and will continue to save $45 million annually. Enterprise service providers across the DoD are now leveraging the technology implemented by the team to further improve their support to customers.

-- Cyber and C4 Directorate A6 Mission Networking Team, U.S. Special Operations Command, Air Force. This team designed, implemented or improved multiple airborne and terrestrial mission network systems, securing and increasing mission capabilities for Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, situational awareness and digital information exchange. The team reduced operational risk, increased Airborne ISR capability by 100 percent, slashed latency by 40 percent and saved $17 million. The team rapidly responded to critical beyond line-of-sight issues during combat operations and improved ISR operational performance in-theater by standardizing U-28 aircrew and tactical communications training.

-- Cyberspace Manpower Study Team, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Virginia. The team led an 18-month effort to analyze, modernize and transform cyber and IT services and functions as part of the largest service transformation in the NRO’s 40-plus year history. The team’s collective efforts expanded the organization’s capabilities in cybersecurity operations, cloud services and the adoption of services from the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise. The upcoming transition of services and personnel is expected to reduce the organization’s overall operations and maintenance costs by at least $50 million annually.

-- Defense as a Platform/New Style of Information Technology, United States Partnership, United Kingdom Ministry of Defence. The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence is transforming the way it delivers core IT capabilities with its Defense as a Platform strategy, implementing Defence-wide, cloud-based, evergreen IT solutions. The strategy calls for upgrading network infrastructure, revamping the IT service model, reorganizing and rebuilding the IT workforce and migrating to commercial off-the-shelf cloud services that will satisfy the majority of its unified capabilities requirements. This transformation places information capabilities and the customer at the heart of MOD operations while increasing cybersecurity and saving millions of pounds annually.

-- European Detachment, Communications Stand Up Team, Installation and Mission Support Center, Air Force. The team established a new organization that manages $21 billion in IT services and infrastructure for customers across 104 countries in the European theater, successfully executing the largest reorganization of the Air Force Enterprise with zero loss or degradation of IT services. The team implemented performance improvements and cost savings while continuing communications support to the warfighter during the transition. With every transfer, the team found ways to reduce process times by as much as 440 hours and cost savings as much as $125 million annually.

-- Service Support Environment/Global Service Desk Project Team, Defense Information Systems Agency, Arlington, Virginia. This team established an organizational and technical structure that enabled virtual consolidation of service desk agents from 22 geographic locations to five. This new environment supported cross utilization of excess capacity that yielded about $75 million in cost avoidance and has changed the way service desk and desktop support is provided. The team established kiosk support for Defense Information Systems Agency Headquarters that yielded an increase in Tier II Desktop Support resolution, eliminated more than 600 backlogged tickets and achieved a collective customer satisfaction rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

-- Windows 10 Security Host Baseline Team, Defense Information Systems Agency, National Security Agency and Air Force Enterprise Configuration Management Office. The Windows 10 Secure Host Baseline Team, composed of members from the NSA, DISA and the Air Force, led the planning for deployment of the Windows 10 Secure Host Baseline to more than three million stakeholders across the DoD. This deployment will be the fastest transition to an operating system in the history of the DoD and represents a multi-agency collaborative effort that will provide operational and cybersecurity benefits for years to come.

(Follow Shannon Collins on Twitter: @CollinsDoDNews)
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