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Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner on DISA’s Thunderdome, Defense Enclave Services Contract

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Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and a 2022 Wash100 Award recipient, said the Thunderdome zero trust program and the Defense Enclave Services initiative are key to DISA’s future work as the agency tries to transition from being a hardware agency into a software organization, Breaking Defense reported Thursday.

Thunderdome is a way to reimagine… how we look at networks in the future and it’s really more data-centric than it is the old equipment and hardware-focused,” Skinner told the publication in an interview.

In January, DISA awarded Booz Allen Hamilton a $6.8 million contract to prototype a zero trust security and network architecture over the next six months.

Skinner said about four or five services will be offered under the Thunderdome prototyping initiative, including Secure Access Service Edge. He noted that DISA expects DES to help lessen contract actions by consolidating contracting for network capabilities.

“So what we’re trying to do with the DES contract is through one contractor bringing all the innovation and the good things that we provide from network performance, network monitoring and network management,” Skinner said. “That’s really what DES is supposed to be. We’re trying to integrate, be consistent and accountable for the consolidation of all these IT integrated network operations — that’s the end goal.”

In late February, Leidos announced that it won the potential 10-year, $11.5 billion DES contract to help DISA consolidate information technology networks of the Department of Defense’s Fourth Estate organizational entities.

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