When it comes to federal agency networks, over the last few years we’ve heard a lot of analogies around changing the tire of a car while driving 60 miles per hour down the road.
A better analogy might be the movie Speed with Keanu Reeves where if the bus dropped below 60 miles per hour, a bomb would go off. While we don’t want to over dramatize network modernization, we all know without the network, any organization, public or private, will have a hard time doing anything.
No matter the comparison you want to use, agencies are in the middle of both an evolution and a revolution when it comes to their networks.
First, the growing demand on the network is forcing agencies to continue down the evolution of how they deliver services. This is why approaches like the cloud, and now managed services are more popular than ever. Agency spending on cloud computing services surged to $4.1 billion in 2018, which is about 9% higher than in 2017, according to analysis from Bloomberg Government.
Second, the need for better security, better data access and management, and the expectation and desire for emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are forcing agencies to rethink how the network of today needs to morph into one that is based on software not hardware and can be improved with a few keyboard strokes.
Angie Heise, the president of the civil group at Leidos, said modernizing the network is all about addressing challenges of today and taking advantage of emerging ones like 5G of tomorrow.
“Everyone has been very focused on cybersecurity and I don’t think that is going to end anytime soon. It’s about maximizing cyber resources and dollars you have to be able to best defend the networks and applications that you have,” Heise said. “We are seeing a lot being done around automation, whether it be around sec/dev/ops so that you can work quickly and develop applications for the end users or if it’s something more like robotics process automation where you can implement RPA to take tasks that your team and people are doing today and automate them so you can use those resources in a much better and more effective, and quite honestly, more challenging way for them to help the enterprise.”
State of Network Infrastructure and Strategy to Modernize
What this requires for modernization is defining what a consolidated outlook would look like of how do we have an outcome where we are much easier to support our infrastructure, bringing us much closer to the edge of the cloud and also allow us to define what modernization looks like for new technologies, new operations as well as new contract structures to be able to define and lower cost over time for DHS.
Deputy CIO, Department of Homeland Security
Cyber, Automation and Preparing for the Future
How do you take the skill sets that we’ve used historically to build the brick and mortar to now shift them so that they do think about things in Lego bricks, problem solving, being creative and agile? How do we create those cultures and teams to adjust? There are so many technologies that are probably coming out in the next three-to-five years that we don’t anticipate so how can we actually adjust and deliver in the next couple of years?
President, Leidos Civil Group
We have to make a network that is capable of expanding and contracting similar to what we are doing with the cloud today because there will be times when we will need more capacity in the cloud. We have to start thinking about networks and cloud the same as you would with energy use. On a hot summer day in D.C., your energy use will be through the roof. We have to plan our networks for growth in our communities so you need to make it scalable and plan for those surges because you don’t want to have the down time that impacts the mission.
CTO, Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice
Mr. Baron joined the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) in 2016 as Chief Technology Officer (CTO), where he drives alignment and collaboration among OJP and other federal agencies' technical centers of excellence and business stakeholders delivering high-visibility, mission-critical solutions to streamline internal grants management processes and maximize the impact and return on investment of $4.5B in annual grant funding.
Mr. Baron is focused on delivering digital transformation by establishing OJP’s future technology vision, engaging executive stakeholders in reimagining business operations, organizing systems and culture to leverage data as a strategic asset, and migrating workloads to a cloud-smart, services-based enterprise platform incorporating best-of-breed, FedRAMP-authorized components.
Prior to taking his position at OJP, Mr. Baron was CTO for an Internet Retailer 500 ecommerce vendor and for an online continuing medical education company, after spending over a decade designing and building solutions that addressed unmet needs in health care administration and life sciences/biotech research.
Stephen Rice is Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Since January 20, 2017, he has overseen the management, security, and sharing of DHS information technology.
Prior to stepping into the DHS DCIO role, Mr. Rice served in the Transportation Security Administration, first as Deputy CIO and Deputy Assistant Administrator, then as CIO and Assistant Administrator for the Office of Information Technology. Mr. Rice played a significant role in the initial deployment of IT services and network connectivity to airport and field locations nationwide.
Mr. Rice’s experience at the Department of Homeland Security began in the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), where he played both intelligence and technical roles. In his nearly decade-long tenure with the USSS, Mr. Rice assisted the intelligence investigation unit that responded to the Oklahoma City bombings, managed data communication teams for several Secret Service protection events, and assisted with management of telecommunications for both presidential conventions. Mr. Rice gained additional federal experience as security program manager for the Department of Commerce, and in the private sector as a network consultant, designing and developing critical network designs.
Angela Heise is President of the Civil Group at Leidos. In this capacity, she is responsible for providing solutions to U.S. Cabinet-level civil agencies and major elements of the public and private sector across the globe. Focus areas include air traffic automation, energy and the environment, federal infrastructure and logistics, IT and cybersecurity, and homeland and transportation security. Prior to this role, Heise served as vice president of Commercial Markets for Lockheed Martin-Commercial Cyber, where she was responsible for the delivery of a portfolio of cybersecurity and information technology solutions and services to commercial Global 1000 customers.
Heise holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and is an alumna of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. She was recently recognized as the recipient of the 2019 IT Leader Award from Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology. She was also named to SIUE’s Alumni Hall of Fame as well as Washington Exec’s Top 25 Executives to Watch in 2018, in what has been dubbed as The Year of the Transformational Leader. Heise was recognized in 2013 as one of Federal Computing Week’s Top 100 Executives and in 2012 as one of Aviation Week’s Top 40 Under 40.
Jason Miller is an executive editor and reporter with Federal News Network. As executive editor, Jason helps direct the news coverage of the station and works with reporters to ensure a broad range of coverage of federal technology, procurement, finance and human resource news.As a reporter, Jason focuses mainly on technology and procurement issues, including cybersecurity, e-government and acquisition policies and programs.