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Helping the Warfighter Maintain a Tactical Edge

The following is an excerpt from the GovLoop Guide, The Joint Information Environment: The IT Framework for the Future. You can access the full report here, in which we describe the JIE and impact it is making at the Department of Defense. 

To improve the way resources are shared across networks at the DoD, the agency is implementing a unified command, control, communications and computing environment. Known as the Joint Information Environment (JIE), it will provide enterprise services and capabilities to DoD personnel. The JIE will be based on open standards and architectures, enabling more efficient use of cloud, storage and simplified data center infrastructures.

Juniper Networks, a company committed to network innovation, is helping the DoD to fully implement the JIE. Their technology supports the DoD with data center security, access control and hosted computing infrastructures, all available as certified products on the DoD Approved Products List (APL). The APL is a list of approved equipment that can be deployed on DoD networks. Prior to deploying any tool, the APL must be consulted to purchase an information technology solution.

To help us understand how Juniper can help deploy the JIE framework, we spoke with Mark Wiggins, Director of Business Development, DoD, at Juniper Networks. He provided insights on the challenges moving forward with JIE, and how Juniper can help overcome some common obstacles.

“One major challenge is piecing together the legacy components and leveraging the new capacity currently being built,” said Wiggins. “What does modernization mean from an operational and policy standpoint? How is big data going to be analyzed to alert the cyber workforce of a potential problem? Those questions seem to be some of the challenges facing DoD leadership.”

As DoD services become virtualized through the JIE initiative, workflows, operations and strategies all must be adjusted accordingly. As the unified environment is deployed, the DoD must continue to identify applications and services that will be transitioned to cloud and core data centers. As applications are virtualized, the DoD will be able to support mission outcomes in new ways, giving DoD personnel access to information more quickly, thereby helping them achieve their mission objectives.

Through the JIE framework, Juniper can support the DoD’s task of providing access to information on any device, any time, under any circumstance, all to support DoD personnel during complex and often changing missions.

The JIE will also present many additional benefits for agencies and the DoD. “There is a consolidation of services and removal of duplication, that provides increased IT efficiencies,” said Wiggins. “DoD will be able to leverage bulk buys, taking advantage of economies of scale from a discounting perspective from vendors. New IT deployed will enable greater situational awareness into the network. Ultimately, the modernization efforts will enable improved network operations for command and control for cybersecurity protection. Now cyber warriors will have insights and situational awareness into what is happening within the DoD.”

For JIE success, Wiggins recommends that the DoD should think about strategies to flatten networks. “With innovative technology, leveraging Juniper, you can flatten the network to cut latency down in traversing the network from point A to point B,” he explained.

“As a result you are able to have more dynamic cyber policies and changes to the network. As data centers are being consolidated, you are able to have more active management, scalability and dynamic allocation of resources based on what needs to occur to support mission success.”

With JIE’s unified approach to communications and technology, DoD will support on-demand access to IT services for mission support. The JIE will enable military units to gain access to information on demand. Once implemented, the JIE construct will provide the IT infrastructure needed to give the warfighter on the ground the tools needed to maintain a tactical advantage.

As Wiggins noted, scalability with the cloud is going to be critical to the success of JIE. With the scalability, organizations can deploy a pay-as-you go model to control costs. Although the cloud will lead to new insights and situational awareness, one critical element to consider is the identity management component of the cloud.

“If you have access into the cloud, you should only be able to go so far based on credentials, instead of having the keys to the kingdom,” said Wiggins. “Identity management is very important for access based on your security clearance or mission sets, and is another key component within the scalability and cloud architecture.”

Using the JIE, the DoD is moving closer to create a unified command, control, communications and computing environment. With Juniper Networks providing the IT backbone of JIE, the warfighter can maintain a tactical edge on the battlefield, and preserve the safety and integrity of confidential information.

Learn more about the JIE by accessing our guide.

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Photo credit, FlickR Creative Commons, U.S. Army. 

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