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Doug Cossa on DIA’s Modernization Plan for Top-Secret Network

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Doug Cossa, chief information officer of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the five-year modernization plan for the top-secret network used to support intelligence operations, known as the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS), will start with technology refresh.

“The first part of modernization is the tech refresh — replacing the old hardware, the infrastructure that makes up the top-secret network,” Cossa told FedTech Magazine in an interview published Thursday.

“Routers, switches, encryption devices, everything that you think of in terms of what makes up a commercial network,” he added.

Cossa said the modernization plan also involves resiliency and redundancy.

“We have smart routing that can route around problems automatically. We also have backup lines, so if a primary line goes down, we have a backup line that we can fail over to, eliminating single points of failure,” he explained.

He highlighted the importance of zero trust and encryption on JWICS and other networks and the need for threat isolation and digital policy to ensure the security of information. Cossa also cited DIA’s preference for multi-cloud capabilities and how a common DevSecOps platform could support the agency’s cloud adoption efforts.

“One of my priorities as CIO is to have a common DevSecOps platform where we create one pathway to getting to the cloud and hosting applications and data, and where we have complete oversight of our cloud usage and making sure we’re using the right capabilities for the right purpose,” Cossa noted.