US Department Of Defence Spends $1bln On Single Computer Network, Report

15 July 2016

The US Department of Defence is spending nearly $1 billion(R14.23 billion) this year to consolidate its computers into a single network without estimating systems final cost, scope or staff needed to operate the network, which raises security concerns, the US General Accountability Office (GAO) said in a new report on Thursday.

At issue is the Pentagon’s Joint Information Environment (JIE), a multi-year project to consolidate disparate computer systems into a single network that will run everything from weapons on a battlefield to email messages between service members and their families.

"Officials reported that assessing the cost of JIE is complex because of the size and the complexity of the department’s infrastructure and JIE’s implementation approach," the report said. "However, without information about expected JIE costs, the ability of officials to oversee and make effective resource decisions is limited."

The report also criticised the Department of Defence for its inability thus far to determine the staff and skills needed to operate the new system.

"As a result, DOD [Department of Defence] risks having a deficient security posture and not being able to ensure that it will have the appropriate workforce knowledge and skills needed to support JIE," the report explained.

The report recommended that the Pentagon fully define the single network ‘s scope and expected cost, and take steps to improve workforce and security planning.


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