Senior Pentagon technology officials today provided Congress with an update on the Department's actions to ensure warfighters maintain information and technology superiority well into the future.

John Sherman, chief information officer of the Department of Defense, Craig Martel, chief digital and artificial intelligence officer of the Department of Defense, and Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, are committed to providing information to the joint force. emphasized that they are focusing on The information and tools you need to meet current and emerging warfighting demands.

“It's more important than ever to provide Department of Defense personnel with secure and resilient software when and where they need it,” Sherman told the House Armed Services Services Cyber, Information Technology, and Innovation Subcommittee. I testified.

“We recognize the urgency of this issue and are working hard to ensure success,” he said.

Sherman said cyber threats continue to emerge, as seen across Asia and Europe, and network protection across Department of Defense and defense industry networks is paramount.

He said the Department of Defense remains “focused” on implementing a Zero Trust cybersecurity framework to address this threat.

Once implemented, the Zero Trust framework will enable the Department of Defense to go beyond traditional network security techniques to reduce exposure to cyberattacks, enable risk management and data sharing, and rapidly contain and remediate adversary activity. with features designed to.

Sherman said the department is also working to modernize its information technology with an emphasis on cloud computing and software.

“When I testified last year, the department was just beginning its enterprise cloud journey, and I am pleased to report significant and successful progress,” he said.

He said the Defense Information Services Agency (DISA) has issued more than 47 mission orders consistent with the department's Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract and has more than 50 more missions on order. .

“We also released Department of Defense guidance to streamline cloud contracting and reduce contracting sprawl across departments,” Sherman said.

The JWCC contract was awarded in 2022 to give warfighters access to the Department of Defense's cloud infrastructure around the world.

In addition to the advances highlighted by Sherman, Skinner noted that DISA also deployed initial overseas cloud capabilities in support of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

He said DISA also recently piloted efforts to deploy hybrid cloud capabilities in remote locations around the world.

”[I]It is important to ensure that secure and resilient software is available to DoD personnel wherever they are,” Skinner said.

Martel said the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) is accelerating the adoption of data analytics and AI across departments to “help the Department of Defense make faster and better decisions from the boardroom to the battlefield.” Ta.

In recent months, CDAO has taken important steps to realize this vision.

In November, the Department of Defense announced a strategy to accelerate the deployment of advanced artificial intelligence capabilities to help U.S. warfighters maintain a superior battlefield decision edge for years to come.

This strategy prescribes an agile approach to AI development and application, with an emphasis on speed of delivery and adoption at scale.

The blueprint also directs the department to focus on several data, analytics, and AI-related goals, from improving basic data management within the department to investing in interoperable infrastructure. train.

Taken together, these goals support the Department of Defense AI Needs Hierarchy, which the AI ​​Adoption Strategy defines as high-quality data, governance, insightful analytics and metrics, assurance and responsible AI. Become.

“This hierarchy of needs, combined with our agile approach, allows us to drive this sustainable change through a virtuous cycle,” Martell said.

He said this approach led to success when applied to the development of the Department of Defense's Joint All Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) capability.

CJADC2 is the Department's approach to developing both tangible and non-tangible solutions to provide information and decision-making advantages to commanders.

The Department aims to apply the CJADC2 approach to all warfighting domains, enabling warfighters to gain an advantage in deterring and, if necessary, defeating adversaries anywhere in the world. .

Last month, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks announced that the department had implemented the first iteration of CJADC2 and noted CDAO's critical role in getting it to the finish line.

In his testimony, Martell said the success was the result of tight integration between developers and warfighters and rapid iterative solutions.

“We succeed by learning by doing, shipping quickly, and iterating quickly alongside warfighters and developers,” he said.

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