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Command conversation: Doug Wiltsie, Army PEO EIS

Sep. 4, 2013 - 05:14PM   |  
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Doug Wiltsie
Doug Wiltsie is a member of the Senior Executive Service who has been Army PEO EIS since October 2011. (Rob Curtis / Staff)
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The Armyís Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) provides infrastructure and information management systems, and develops, acquires and deploys tactical and management information technology systems and products. Its program executive officer is Doug Wiltsie, a member of the Senior Executive Service who has been in the position since October 2011.

He spoke to C4ISR & Networks Editor Barry Rosenberg about IT modernization, the Armyís collaborations with the Defense Information Systems Agency and data center consolidation.

C4ISRNET: With support of the war fighter a given, whatís at the top of your to-do list?

WILTSIE: Continuing to develop innovative capabilities for the field, adapting to this new fiscal environment, ensuring that the modernization programs are moving forward as fast as they can, and continuing to improve the IT acquisition process.

C4ISRNET: Letís look at a couple of those. How do you speed the pace of modernization?

WILTSIE: The key to going faster for us is making sure we understand the requirements early enough that we can pick the most optimum method to acquire the service. There are a couple of examples. One would be something simple like enterprise license agreements that have saved a tremendous amount of money over the years through the Common Hardware and Enterprise Software Systems program, CHESS. Being able to understand the total requirement ó be it the number of customers or the types of services wanted ó and having the ability to bundle those and put them out on the street in the larger acquisition has brought us greater savings.

Another example is the effort between the Army ó to include the CIO/G-6, PEO EIS and NETCOM [Army Network Enterprise Technology Command] ó and DISA on the future of the generating force network. We have saved a tremendous amount of money in [developing] the system architecture for the network and then bundling and buying commodity parts such as routers and switches in bulk. That has saved us hundreds of millions of dollars so far in buying those quantities at very discounted prices.

The next piece of that is to work with NETCOM, specifically the 7th Signal Command, to integrate them into the network so we can bring the network up. In doing that, the modernization program is focused on two things: increasing the bandwidth to the Army and improving the security for the Army as we go forward.

For security of the network in todayís Army, most organizations have their own network and own security stacks. So creating a regional security concept will allow us to remove the organizational security. What that does is give us a better understanding of our own network. We can see the entire Army network; we have the ability to improve security across the Army; and it gives us the ability at each post, camp, and station to raise the bandwidth because there are not multiple security stacks for all the organizations on any one post.

C4ISRNET: You mentioned a joint effort with DISA. It seems like the Army has developed a special relationship with DISA in helping to develop the enterprise. Do you feel thatís the case when it comes to networks and IT?

WILTSIE: I would absolutely agree. Itís a real partnership thatís been created. It started, I would assume, with enterprise email, but that was before my time. DISA has a massive network, so when we use their infrastructure, it cuts down our costs and eliminates any redundancy.

It is really the CIO/G-6 office and Deputy CIO Mike Krieger who have been leading the charge to collapse the Army network and get behind DISA. Itís part of the concept that JIE [Joint Information Environment] will be, so it will give us very high bandwidth and regional security across the Army, which will then be able to support other initiatives such as enterprise services, email being the first, collaboration and content management being the second, and Unified Capabilities is going to be the third.

Utilizing the infrastructure that DISA already has and working with them to increase the bandwidth at some of their DISN nodes allows us to bring the bandwidth for posts, camps, and stations from hundreds of megabits up to 10-100 gigabits, which is a massive improvement. The idea here, and I give all the credit to Mike Krieger, is to remove the issue of bandwidth as a concern. We have got to get ahead of it, and it allows us to bring these other services on by eliminating that concern, at least in the short-term.

C4ISRNET: And what plans do you have for that bandwidth?

WILTSIE: It will be for collaboration; it will support the collapse of the Army and DoD data centers, and the ability to do cloud computing. Without bandwidth, we will not be able to do any of those things. The idea was to attack the first thing we need to get in place, which is increased bandwidth, get the proper security in place, and then we can bring on the rest of the services.

C4ISRNET: DISA is taking on the role of running the DoDís core data centers going forward. Has the Armyís plan to consolidate data centers changed with DISA taking on that responsibility? Will the Army still have its own core data centers?

WILTSIE: The answer is evolving. We saw the letter from the DoD CIO that said the core data centers for the Department of Defense will be within the DISA data centers and that all programs of record have to move into the DISA data centers by 2018, and anyone that has not achieved their initial operational capability by 2014 has to go directly to a DISA data center.

The Army is working through the analysis of functional data centers, as we do have a few data centers that have been aligned to function. Redstone Arsenal [Ala.] has been aligned to logistics; the acquisition programs are at ALTESS [Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Enterprise Systems and Services] in Radford [Va.]; and HRSC [Human Resources Service Center] has a data center at Fort Knox [Ky.]. So the G-6 is going through the alternatives that the Army has and is looking at more of a holistic approach that determines whether we keep any of the Army data centers in addition to DISA. The question is in the definition of what is a program of record. So there may be a number of programs that donít fit that category, so they may reside in a data center. That decision hasnít been made to the way ahead.

C4ISRNET: By program of record you mean programs like Logistics Modernization Program (LMP), Global Combat System Support-Army (GCSS-A), and General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS)?

WILTSIE: All of those will sooner or later have to transition to a DISA data center.

The other piece of that is we also need to work a logical transition of programs of record into a DISA data center because what happens with these data centers is that they have an infrastructure cost and they have an operating cost, which are spread across all of the customers. As customers leave the rates change. We want to make sure we have a balance of how everything is moving, so we can project what those costs are and, if some of the data centers are closing, work the right optimal schedule to shut those down.

C4ISRNET: How are you reducing the cost of your programs?

WILTSIE: Weíre working very hard on the requirement side to reduce the number of requirements in programs to the absolute critical, which means there are a lot of trades that are occurring in programs that are about to start. Two that I would highlight are in biometrics: the JPIv2 [Joint Personnel Identification Version 2] program, which is the collection device, and the BEC 1 [Biometrics Enabling Capability Increment 1] system, which is the database.

Both started with a very large set of requirements; we have been working hard with TRADOC to get those requirements down to the critical so that we can get the price of the new program down to the minimal.

C4ISRNET: You have a large civilian workforce at PEO EIS. How are you being affected by sequestration?

WILTSIE: Itís been a big factor. Weíve had to slow down, and itís not just the limitation of the workforce here at PEO EIS, but itís also the partners that we have in contracting, logistics, legal, and the function stakeholders that are working the detail requirements with us every day. When you cut down to 32 hours, that really hurts your ability to go fast, and weíve had to do things that arenít the most optimal solutions, like extending contracts into the next year because we knew the new contract couldnít be put in place by the end of the year.

C4ISRNET: What should industry be looking for in RFIs, RFPs, and contract awards?

WILTSIE: The Army contract writing system is a new program that weíre working through the requirements process to get it down to the minimum, critical requirements. That should be on the street in the first quarter of 2014.

The services contract will be out in March for Army enterprise reporting for the ERPs. GFEBS sustainment is another that will come out in 2014. Thereís a large contract on RFIDs, and biometrics has another contract for the sustainment of the collection devices that are in theater today from a hardware and software standpoint. Thereís also a multitude of RFPs for Satcom planned.

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