In a non-descript brick building 30 miles north of Salt Lake City, a cadre of information technology and cybersecurity experts operate and defend the telecommunications infrastructure that supports Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines around the globe.
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) Global Operations Center West, located on Hill Air Force Base, Utah, began performing this mission July 15. A ribbon-cutting celebrating the accomplishment took place Oct. 25.
“Today, we mark the culmination of an idea that began more than four years ago: a vision for a second operations center to perform standardized network operations using the same tools, privileges, tactics, techniques, and procedures as the DISA Global Operations Center located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois,” said Navy Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, director of DISA.
Personnel at the Utah site work in tandem with DISA Global Operations Center East, located on Scott Air Force Base, to provide what the agency calls “active-active operations.” The concept is intended to ensure the mission can be executed at all times, including in the event of a catastrophic failure at either location.
Together, the components are referred to as “DISA Global Operations Command” and are led by Army Col. Lisa Whittaker.
“This has been a tireless and extensive effort across multiple organizations and every member provided critical contributions to its success,” Whittaker said to an assembly that included Hill Air Force Base Commander Col. Jon Eberlan.
Whittaker praised the efforts of her Utah workforce, who underwent extensive training, and their Illinois teammates, who worked hand-in-hand with them to ensure a seamless transition from single-site operations to active-active operations.
Laura Williams, Active-Active program manager, described the significance of the accomplishment in a September press release.
“In a world where our cyber adversaries are becoming more and more sophisticated in their abilities to infiltrate networks and interfere with services, Active-Active Operations allows DISA Global to reduce continuity risks and make the Defense Information Systems Network and DISA services more agile and responsive,” she said.
The agency’s mission partners, or customers, who depend on 24/7 network and service availability range from deployed service members to the Department of Defense agencies that ensure supplies and paychecks are delivered.
“Active-Active gives the agency a strategic advantage to further our warfighter’s success in defense of our nation and to increase the lethality of the DOD,” said Whittaker.
DISA Global Operations Command West is manned by approximately 150 military, federal civilian, and contract personnel. The addition of this mission expands the agency’s total workforce at Hill Air Force Base to approximately 650. Other DISA missions there include a computing center and the agency’s Global Service Desk.
DISA is a Department of Defense combat support agency that provides real-time information technology (IT) and communications support to the president, vice president, secretary of defense, the military services, and the combatant commands. From its Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters and through worldwide field activities, DISA offers IT services, capabilities, and acquisition expertise that enable our nation's military to accomplish their missions.