BALTIMORE, MD. — Defense Information Systems Agency senior officials on Thursday confirmed they’re making progress in the ongoing implementation of the multibillion-dollar Defense Enterprise Office Solution, or DEOS, a robust effort to provide cloud-based collaboration tools to the entire Defense Department.
“We have moved virtually the entire fourth estate to DOD365-J,” Dr. Brian Hermann, director of DISA’s Cyber Security and Analytics Directorate, told reporters during a media roundtable. “We have some organizations that are still working on a couple of migration activities. But most of them at least have hybrid access and the collaborative capabilities in there.”
Fourth estate agencies are those that don’t fall under the military, intelligence community or combatant commands, though the latter are also pivoting to that new Microsoft Office 365 environment equipped with enhanced cybersecurity features specifically for the department.
Known as DOD 365 Joint, or DOD365-J, it’s essentially DISA’s single-shared tenant, or version of that Microsoft product, which offers a slew of office productivity and engagement capabilities and services to the fourth estate and combatant commands. It’s one of several tenants across the department—the Army, Air Force, Navy and others have their own unique tenant environments. DOD365-J is an important feature of DEOS, the agency’s overarching program and contract vehicle for a commercially provided, cloud-based enterprise resource.
“DOD365-Joint has approximately 330,000 total mailboxes planned to be migrated to the tenant by the end of [fiscal year 2022],” DISA Public Affairs Specialist Dillon McConnell told Nextgov later on Thursday. “To date, about 108,000 users have successfully transitioned into the DOD365-J environment from more than 75 combatant commands and defense agencies and field activities.”
That’s up from the migration numbers provided in June.
Multiple obstacles are associated with the shift to DEOS, including supplying its cloud services to users who are based outside of the continental United States, or OCONUS. Those individuals beyond America’s borders “can access DOD365-J today directly from the internet using any browsers, as long as they are [Common Access Card]-enabled,” McConnell noted.
Still, pointing to some of the problems along the way, Hermann said “there is a challenge associated with performance of cloud-based capabilities from overseas—and some of its inherent to that Microsoft architecture for 365, and some of it is just the way we access the cloud.” To that end, Hermann added that the team at DISA’s new Hosting and Computing Center, led by Acting Director Sharon Woods, will be “getting after” providing edge capabilities and Transport Services Directorate Director Christopher Paczkowski and his group would be ensuring there’s “that ubiquitous access.”
“Because, while these are commercial tools, they’re intended for use in critical mission needs,” he noted.