DISA director delivers key insights on information warfare at AFCEA WEST 2024

By Marco Villasana / the Office of Strategic Communication and Public Affairs
February 21, 2024

DISA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner speaks during an AFCEA WEST panel Feb. 14, 2024.
(DISA photo by Marco Villasana)
Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, Defense Information Systems Agency director and Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network commander, took the stage alongside other Department of Defense leaders at AFCEA WEST 2024 to share his perspective on the state of information warfare and what is needed to propel it forward.

The panel's central question,“Do we have the tools and technologies we need to enable information as a warfighting multiplier?” sparked a dialogue that explored the details of providing timely information to warfighters and leaders to empower them to observe, orient, decide and act more rapidly than the adversary.

Skinner began with partnerships and the importance they have in developing and acquiring the information technology services and capabilities needed to obtain information superiority. 

“I've talked about how partnership is key, and it's partnership not just within the department or with the federal government; it's with industry; it's with academia.”
He then emphasized the necessity for ensuring capabilities are always available to warfighters, customers and everyone reliant on what DISA provides.

Skinner said operational resilience requires “that data is available at the time and place of our decision makers, so they have the information to make an informed decision before the adversary has time to complete their decision loop. And that's constant, so you have to have the transport there, you have to have the cloud there, you have to have the applications, because they all work together to inform that decision and that's what we focus on.”

Shifting to modernization efforts and the seamless integration of legacy systems, Skinner articulated a vision of simplicity and strength. He underscored the importance of harmonization between technology, processes and personnel to streamline operations.

“We need to be able to have the same capabilities no matter what network we're operating on, no matter what classification level.”

Furthermore, he urged industry to ask for help in changing processes, instructions, regulations and even laws that will make it easier to achieve a secure, protected and resilient environment.

At the end of the session, Skinner circled back to partnerships and expressed gratitude, stating, “It's through the partnerships that we have with you, the partnerships that we have with our allies and partners that will continue giving us that positional advantage, so thank you.”

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