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DOD CIO taps into DISA’s expertise to execute global town hall

by Jim Verchio
DISA Strategic Communication and Public Affairs

Dana Deasy, the Department of Defense chief information officer (DOD CIO), knows which agency to tap for assistance as he prepares for his first global town hall May 17 – the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

As the DOD’s premier information technology (IT) provider, working together with the Defense Media Activity (DMA), DISA stands ready to execute the mission at hand.

“The unique capabilities that DISA provides through the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) backbone, Global Content Delivery Service (GCDS) and Global Video Services (GVS) programs, and enterprise-level expertise in the IT arena leaves the organization uniquely postured to support these types of activities,” said Air Force Col. Chris Autrey, military deputy in the agency’s Infrastructure Directorate. “The CIO office needs to ensure the message being delivered in person at the Headquarters will be able to reach the larger audience around the globe clearly and with no interruptions.”

To make sure there are no interruptions during the live event, DISA and DMA are preparing several delivery methods.

“The team is relying on DISA's Global Content Delivery Service to allow a high definition live stream of the event to be distributed to localized nodes across the Defense Information Systems Network, which then distributes the stream locally to conference rooms and auditoriums across the DOD,” Autrey said. “In addition, a secondary feed to the GCDS platform is being used to mitigate any impact to the primary circuit path. This link was established through a partnership with the Army Multimedia and Visual Information Directorate (AMVID) and DMA. Finally, for those sites unable to bring the stream into their large group areas, the DISA GVS program provides three GVS-linked rooms that also allowed those sites to connect.”

DMA’s involvement illustrates how when teams work together, a force multiplier is born.

“DISA and DMA have worked well together while planning the event,” Autrey said. “DMA provided equipment and web services expertise and allowed DISA to have alternative streaming paths to compare and optimize video quality distribution, and to reach the larger, global audience. Our partnership results in further resiliency for the event, and that goes a long way to ensuring that the CIO's audience receives his message.”

Planning is important; however, practice makes perfect.

“The nature of the GCDS platform allows for geographically diverse sites around the globe to connect to the server streaming the event that is closest to them,” said the colonel. “DISA conducted successful load stress testing after the recent 9GB increase to network bandwidth, and we monitored the network saturation during test events and have ensured it remained at a very low level. These tests allowed the few minor bugs in the feed to be worked out ahead of the main presentation. The final test was executed with zero issues.”

This level of rigor isn’t reserved solely for high-level town hall events. The work going on behind the scenes is indicative of what happens every day at the agency.

“While this event is a town hall, these same platforms are used for mission execution by the combatant commands, services, and agencies every day,” Autrey said. “The success we’ve experienced in testing showcases the organization’s critical role in providing enterprise capabilities to the warfighter.”

The agency and its joint partners are bringing their best to bear – and the CIO can rest assured his message will hit right on target.

“For the last three weeks, a simulated town hall was presented from the DISA Headquarters facility that field locations could connect to and validate their endpoint room capabilities to receive the feed,” Autrey said. “This is a clear indication the men and women of DISA, DMA, and AMVIDS are able to work together over a relatively short planning period to execute this first ever DOD CIO global town hall.

The town hall is being presented to DOD’s global workforce May 17 from 1-2:30 p.m. EDT from the DISA Headquarters Conference Center on Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

The CIO’s remarks will focus on his digital modernization vision; the enterprise cloud strategy; artificial intelligence; command, control, and communications; the cyber landscape; and IT reform.

DISA is using GCDS streaming video to broadcast the town hall to IT professionals throughout DOD. Personnel at each DOD site will watch from designated viewing locations, versus individual desktops.

A recording of the town hall will be available on the DOD CIO website for individuals who are not able to participate that day.

More information regarding the town hall is available on the DOD CIO Global Town Hall web page.



Posted May 17, 2019