News | June 6, 2018

Agency begins IT migration to DISA

By Elizabeth Szoke DCMA Public Affairs

The Defense Contract Management Agency has begun the migration from internally managed Information Technology services to enterprise services managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, this month. The first of many transitions will be from the organization’s internal exchange email infrastructure to DISA’s Defense Enterprise Email, or DEE.

“This move will bring our agency in line with the larger Department of Defense construct,” said the agency director, Navy Vice Adm. David Lewis. “We will then have enterprise-level capabilities as the platform we use to conduct business, from communications via email and mobile phones, to DoD-approved applications.”

DCMA IT has already migrated over 50 employees to DEE during their initial pilot group.

“This initial pilot group was an excellent starting point before we begin with the rest of the workforce,” said Joe Rhodes, IT collaboration portfolio manager. “It provided some great lessons for the deployment path forward. We have implemented a simplified checklist for employees to follow based off lessons learned, which will ensure a seamless transition of services for everyone else.”

This checklist will be provided to individuals via email and other methods before their assigned migration group begins the transition. This checklist will entail user-friendly tasks such as how to save any user created rules to transfer to a new Outlook profile, validate an inbox is ready for migration, and create PST files, which are the primary format used by Outlook to store emails.

There are 24 migration groups, which consist of approximately 500 employees. The first group will begin the transition in mid-to-late June and will conservatively take a week to complete Rhodes said. The groups are divided by location and based on organizational unit. Users can refer to this link (CAC login required) for an updated timeframe of their migration.

“As we move further into the migration, the speed of the transition may ramp up to about 2,000 employees a week,” said Rhodes. “The goal is to have the organization completely switched to DISA by August, which means the tempo of these migrations will flex up or down based on resource availability and level of preparedness.”

According to Ray Coleman, the agency’s chief information officer, users may experience challenges in creating their new Outlook profile during the transition. There may also be slight delays between the time their DEE inbox is setup and the time their iPhone is migrated. Touch labor IT technicians will be designated to assist employees with these concerns.

“Our technicians will be available either in-person or on the phone ready to support the DEE deployment, which will ensure that every DCMA employee will feel like they have access to immediate assistance” said Coleman. “These touch labor technicians will be available for all time zones, ensuring even our international workforce receives the same coverage as our stateside employees. Our goal is to provide premier support and communicate the changes in every way possible to keep the workforce engaged and mission-effective throughout the process.”

Leadership expects that this move will be a key step and dependency for the closing of the legacy Boston data center and migrating to a DISA-managed data center. This will be the first step leading the organization to a DoD-approved cloud source.

“Data center consolidation and migration to DISA IT-managed data centers is also part of the IT off-ramping program,” said Rhodes. “This will bring our workforce in alignment with the DoD strategic plan for IT services and utilizes existing enterprise assets along with a ‘cloud-first’ approach.”

In addition to the transition of emails, there are other parts of this program to include DCMA's transition to Joint Multi-Protocol Label Switching, which will move DMCA to a more unified DoD networking approach; migration to the Defense Enterprise Office Solution, which will bring Microsoft Office solutions into an approved cloud environment at the DoD enterprise level; and the transition of DCMA-issued iPhones, which will enable capabilities such as reading and sending encrypted emails via users’ mobile devices.

“The end-state result for the workforce will be a stable, reliable infrastructure that will provide robust capabilities and work as a force multiplier,” Rhodes said. “The new era of IT in the upcoming years will be starkly different from the challenges seen over the last few years. Our core IT services will become more effective, reliable and sustainable.”