DISA unveils its premier facility for cyber defense

The home of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Global Operations Command has opened for business, housing the nation’s major facility for cyber defense.

The 164,000 square-foot complex, located on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., near St. Louis, Missouri, will bring together about 70 percent of the DISA command, said Col. Paul Craft, the commander of DISA Global in an interview on The Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

The business end of the operation will be expansive. The command center will take the lead in operating the infrastructure and services that make up the DoD Information Network. According to Craft, that includes:

Defending military’s access to the Internet
The Joint Regional Security Stacks (JRSS) which provide centralized security functions including firewall and intrusion detection
NIPRNet and SIPRNet, DoD’s secure and non-secure internet protocols
Voice and video services
A mobile device and cloud gateway
Assurance for all airborne surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance missions, including remotely-piloted aircraft circuits, global missile defense, nuclear command and control and White House circuits.
Consolidating nearly 1,000 military and contract employees of the seven functioning divisions of DISA with plans to expand that number in the future, the $100 million dollar facility is large enough to seat more than 300 workers at any one time.

To provide flexibility in support of future mission changes, the new facility provides open-space design concepts and the use of raised-access flooring, demountable partitions and modular workstations.

DISA has been at Scott AFB for 20 years, so Craft said it was logical to locate the new command center there.

“The Air Force has been a great partner of DISA, and Scott AFB is right in the center of the country. The Air Force’s major cyber and IT operations are at Scott,” said Craft.

To staff the facility, Craft said “a good portion of the folks we’ve hired are from the local area, we’ve got about a 25 percent growth in civilian jobs in the command and have received resumes from around the world.”

Craft said the command has begun to integrate Army and Air Force reserve units from Colorado, Alabama and Missouri for training on network operations and defensive cyberspace operations to provide support on the weekends and those times of the years when extra support is needed.

With its world-class training facility, a conference center and teaming rooms, Craft said he hopes to set up a communications construct to facilitate collaboration on cybersecurity with local universities.

In planning the new command center, Craft said the well-being of its workforce was the number one focus of the effort. “People are the backbone for the missions we support,” he said. “We have a 3,200 square foot wellness center here open to all DISA employees 24/7, a healthy foods restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and on the weekends.”

Hailing the world-class command center at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 11, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) commented on the importance of its mission. “There is a new war underway; it’s a cyber-war that goes on every second of every day,” he said. “When you see this building, you may not see airplanes, but you are going to see a facility that is right smack dab in the middle of [that] war.”


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