The precautions that are necessary for the security of a nation and its military are never ending, in fact DISA's terminology for ensuring the survivability and redundancy of global network operations is termed '24/7 Active-Active'. And that's what DISA is doing as they operate and defend the DOD Information Network which is a mission critical, full-time job.
To ensure the nation’s warfighters have reliable and secure communication and information, information technology (IT) and cyber professionals monitor and secure the network from DISA Global Operations Command’s network operations watch floor.
On July 15, DISA took a major step in improving the survivability and redundancy of global network operations by starting 24/7 Active-Active operations. This announcement was released September 11, 2018.
DISA Global Operations Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base (AFB), Illinois, established a second network operations watch floor at Hill AFB, Utah. The Hill AFB location is known as DISA Global West. Initial staffing includes 66 civilians, 23 military members, and approximately 100 contractors.
The original watch floor at Scott AFB is now known as DISA Global East.
“In a world where our cyber adversaries are becoming more and more sophisticated in their abilities to infiltrate networks and interfere with services, Active-Active operations allows DISA Global to reduce continuity risks and make the Defense Information Systems Network and DISA services more agile and responsive,” said Laura Williams, Active-Active program manager.
Having two geographically separated watch floors equipped to execute the IT service management functions required for operating DISA and Defense Information Systems Network services is essential for DISA to support the warfighter and other mission partners, said Williams.
“It’s always a challenge when you have a geographically separated work force,” said Army Col. Lisa Whittaker, DISA Global commander. “But we are a tremendous team coming together for this effort. The teammates that work at DISA Global West are closely integrated with those at DISA Global East. They work in the same divisions, have the same leadership, and use the same tools, techniques, tactics, and procedures on a daily basis.”
In the event of an incident or situation that degrades or completely cuts off connectivity at either Hill or Scott Air Force Bases, DISA Global will still be able to operate and defend network and infrastructure services from the other location. Both DISA Global locations will perform standardized network operations, in part, by employing an Enterprise Virtual Watch Desk, which will provide organizations across the agency with a common operational picture of the network, giving them the ability to see and report what is taking place on the network at all times.
“Active-Active gives the agency a strategic advantage to further our warfighter’s success in defense of our nation and to increase the lethality of the DOD,” said Whittaker.