This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent e-book, “The Foundation for DoD Innovation.” Download the full e-book here.
DoD calls itself “America’s largest employer,” and for good reason – in 2019, the agency employed 2.87 million people. Its workforce comprised primarily of military personnel totaling 2.15 million warfighters, an almost 3:1 ratio to its 732,079 civilian workers.
With a workforce of this size coupled with the magnitude and complexity of its mission, DoD is working diligently to modernize its enterprise to support its capabilities and meet requirements for one of the world’s most demanding workplaces. Modernization at this scale requires real-time visibility to all assets both virtual and physical. This includes a comprehensive understanding of the dependencies between applications, their underlying infrastructure, and security posture. Without it, migration to new platforms such as the cloud is virtually impossible. And here’s the reality: DOD, like many other government agencies, lacks complete end to end visibility due to the ever-growing demands of a mobile workforce.
To help federal enterprises address this ongoing challenge, next-generation, intent-based networks help provide enterprise visibility. These platforms recognize the relationship between users, data, and applications seamlessly linking the strategic, operational, and tactical decision environments. The user is the “new firewall” who’s rights and privileges govern the applications and data they have access to. With policy enforced at a user level, the network can now collect intelligence distributed throughout the battlespace – artificial, human or sensor – then aggregate, fuse and route information to create an ever-increasing advantage across various operations scenarios.
To understand how intuitive networks and platforms can boost an agency’s enterprise visibility, GovLoop spoke with Carl De Groote, Senior Director, U.S. Defense at Cisco. Cisco is a networking and telecommunications hardware provider specializing in enterprise visibility and modernization.
De Groote said that many agencies – including DoD – struggle to make data accessible across their enterprise. “Visibility is the No. 1 challenge,” he said. “The challenge is making data useable for agencies and understanding their environment.”
Visibility is especially critical to DoD as its personnel needs a clear operational picture of their enterprise. Intuitive networks help agencies overcome this challenge by clearly illustrating a comprehensive view of all agency’s applications, data and operational systems. “In turn, you build a more cognitive enterprise,” De Groote said. “It supports a more real-time operating environment.”
Intuitive networks and platforms are also flexible and scalable, making them ideal for emerging technologies such as AI. Agencies that use the network to harness data can collect, analyze and share higher-quality information more easily.
Another advantage for agencies using intuitive platforms is that they can immediately adopt new applications, services and security measures as they’re introduced. For government agencies operating in a cloud smart environment, the network can save time installing, securing and upgrading their application infrastructure – cloud-ready networks automate adoption of the latest platform enhancements as they become available.
Providers such as Cisco, deliver cloud-ready networks so agencies can immediately leverage commercial capabilities in the cloud, make data rapidly usable and support their missions with agile, adaptable toolsets. “The network remains more important than ever,” De Groote said. “Today’s network has to be highly useable and deliver a good user experience.”