DISA is transforming connectivity: The evolution of network optimization

By Charles A. Buechel, Leidos, Inc.,
and Apprill Walden, DISA Endpoint Services and Customer Support Directorate
November 28, 2023

Over the past year, the Defense Information Systems Agency has made substantial progress in combating growing cyber threats by strengthening and standardizing its network infrastructure. The 4th Estate Network Optimization initiative under the Defense Enclave Services program has been critical to this success.

Earlier this year, the agency successfully migrated over 10,000 users and workstations from the legacy DISANet infrastructure to the new DODNet environment in just six weeks, enabling the decommission of the legacy operating environment.

The DISANet decommissioning effort, led by prime contractor Leidos, Inc., involved removing or moving legacy technology systems and turning off DISANet. Thus, reducing maintenance and support costs by consolidating DISA services to a single operating environment and providing a more robust, survivable network infrastructure.

“The new infrastructure has increased network reliability, resiliency and security,” says Carissa Landymore, 4th Estate Network Optimization and DODNet program manager. “We now have greater agility in provisioning and reconfiguring the network to meet operational and security requirements.”

Prior to completing the DISA migration, the team also successfully completed migrations for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and the Defense Technical Information Center.

“This was a critical first step in standardizing a global network of this size,” says Landymore. “This activity required months of strategic planning, interagency funding, security accreditation approvals, and an exceptional end-user experience to make it happen.” 


DISA, in partnership with Leidos, has begun planning for its next phase of 4th Estate defense agency and field activity migrations, including the Pentagon’s Joint Service Provider, Defense Contract Audit Agency, Defense Contract Management Agency, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Media Activity, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, and the Missile Defense Agency.


The project not only allows all defense agencies and field activities to operate on a single, common network but also provides standardized applications and tools to ensure these organizations have the mission capabilities and services vital to supporting current and future operations.

“By streamlining disparate networks to a single, optimized infrastructure, we can provide a more secure, cost-effective way to deliver optimized services to our nation’s warfighters,” says Landymore.

The 4th Estate Network Optimization initiative and the Defense Enclave Services program are examples of the Department of Defense’s ongoing commitment to investing in and ensuring the defense, availability, reliability and resilience of its cyber networks and infrastructure as part of the DOD 2023 Cyber Strategy.

In the coming months, the team will focus on making enhancements to DODNet Generation 1.0 that will ensure the agency is positioned to efficiently migrate component organizations to DODNet 2.0. Generation 2.0 will build upon Generation 1.0’s strengths by adding elements of scalability, interoperability, resiliency and redundancy to further enhance DODNet capabilities. 

The Defense Enclave Services team aims to further minimize risks by using a secure cloud environment that will optimize IT management and enhance the overall cybersecurity and operational posture. 

Once DISA completes migrating all users, the optimized network will continuously evolve with technical enhancements aimed to remove the burden of redundant help desk support and other time-consuming administrative activities from these agencies, enabling them to devote their resources to mission execution. 

“By implementing an optimized, rapid delivery strategy we will leverage separate teams to migrate defense agencies and field activities in parallel, including the installation of equipment updates in advance of each migration,” says Charles Buechel, vice president, division manager at Leidos.

DODNet 2.0 will be ready for defense agency and field activity migrations by May 2024. The modernized network will include built-in operations and sustainment support to ensure the network continues to become more efficient as additional components come on board.  

DISA users are now fully operational on the system with more than 30,000 seats. Each “seat” represents one computer connected to either the unclassified or classified network. Once all migrations are complete, DODNet 2.0 will have expanded to include more than 160,000 seats.

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