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DISA-OKC manages many DOD computer systems

A sea of computer servers overshadows the small figure of a worker in the large secure server room of the Defense Information Systems Agency-Oklahoma City, located here at Tinker.  Mission partners around the world are served by personnel working in this secured facility who can ensure safe computing through layers of advanced security features. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

A sea of computer servers overshadows the small figure of a worker in the large secure server room of the Defense Information Systems Agency-Oklahoma City, located here at Tinker. Mission partners around the world are served by personnel working in this secured facility who can ensure safe computing through layers of advanced security features. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Many of the computer systems employed throughout the world by the Department of Defense are administered from Tinker Air Force Base by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

DISA is a Defense Department combat support agency that operates 14 computing facilities worldwide. Its 16,000 employees "support applications that support warfighters," said Anthony L. Purvis, director of DISA's Defense Enterprise Computing Center - Oklahoma City.

The agency operates 24/7/365, said Mr. Purvis. "Never a day off."

The Defense Communications Agency, established in 1960, was renamed the Defense Information Systems Agency in 1991 to reflect its role in providing total information systems management for the Department of Defense.

Over the ensuing years DISA has expanded considerably.

"When we first moved away from the Air Force, we supported just the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center," Mr. Purvis said. (Before occupying Bldg. 3900, DISA operated from Bldg. 3001.)

Today DISA-OKC manages several computer applications - including time-and-attendance, maintenance and supply systems - that support the Air Force Sustainment Center's three Air Logistics Complexes at Tinker, Robins and Hill AFBs. The depot maintenance system is an amalgamation of five applications, Mr. Purvis said.
DISA-Mechanicsburg supports the Navy depot at Mechanicsburg, Pa., and the U.S. Transportation Command is a DISA customer. "They use our systems to deploy military equipment to theaters of operations," Mr. Purvis said.

DISA-OKC is in the process of assuming management of the Army's e-mail system, too. Historically, every Army post across the globe managed its own e-mail system. The Army's transition to the DOD's universal, Microsoft-based enterprise e-mail system managed by DISA started in 2011, and all 1.4 million users are expected to be integrated into EE by March 2013, Mr. Purvis said.

EE currently has 510,000 users, the majority of them Army, Mr. Purvis said; 6,400 joint staff members have transitioned to EE, as has the Secretary of the Army, and DISA-OKC supports DOD enterprise e-mail for the Army's Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Ala.
DISA is in negotiations to take over administration of e-mail for the Coast Guard, the European Command, AFRICOM, the U.S. Strategic Command and the U.S. Northern Command, Mr. Purvis indicated.

DISA-OKC currently provides e-mail support to 50,000 BlackBerry users, and administration of e-mail for "smartphones" and electronic tablets is "our next big push," he said.

DISA-OKC envisions ultimately managing 4.5 million enterprise e-mail accounts, he said. Furthermore, DISA wants to manage not only NIPR (Non-secure Internet Protocol Router network) accounts but also SIPR (Secret Internet Protocol Router network) accounts.

Besides e-mail, DISA also specializes in information assurance systems. The military's host-based security system - a commercial off-the-shelf suite of software applications the Defense Department uses to monitor, detect and counter attacks against DOD computer networks and systems - is managed from the Oklahoma City Defense Enterprise Computing Center.

Similarly, all public key infrastructure devices in DOD are managed by DISA. (The PKI device typically is located on the side of the keyboard and requires an ID "smart" card to be inserted before the computer can be accessed.)

"We are information technology specialists," Mr. Purvis said. "That's what we do."