Written by Jackson Barnett
A top Navy IT official had said the department planned to migrate 472,000 of its personnel to the system known as Flank Speed by Oct. 1, but so far only 334,000 users have been moved over. The new environment is the Navy’s version of “DOD365,” a collaboration suite of tools based on Microsoft Office 365 that features enhanced security measures for both telework and in-office tools, such as email and other back-office software.
The Navy plans “to migrate approximately 138,000 remaining users in the coming months,” a Navy spokeswoman told FedScoop.
It’s unclear what happens to those still being migrated, as many were supported through an instance of Office 365 on the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI). That instance sunsets Oct. 1, according to the Navy. It’s unclear if there are other instances of Office 365 available to users to support their work.
The DOD launched its first department wide telework environment at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) environment. The system was also based on Office 365 cloud-based software but was not authorized to handle sensitive data.
The Pentagon’s effort to build a modern suite of collaboration tools, which includes Microsoft’s Word, One Drive and Teams video calling, has been ongoing since 2019 with the initial award of the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS) contract to General Dynamics IT-owned CRSA in August 2019, before being re-awarded in Oct. 2020 to the same company.
Each service hosts its own cloud tenancy in the DEOS system, with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) managing non-combat support agencies’s back-office systems under the contract. The first users to DOD365 were onboarded in the beginning of 2021 and the temporary CVR was decommissioned in June.
Part of the enhanced security Flank Speed offers is an implementation of some of the zero-trust principles that senior IT leaders have been pushing. Zero-trust systems operate on the principle that they have already been breached and should limit the movement of networks users until they are authenticated — giving them “zero trust” on the network.
“It’s secured. It is cloud-based, like CVR. But in a very secure and defendable place where CVR had a couple of holes,” Mike Galbraith, Navy’s chief digital innovation officer, said in June of Flank Speed. He added the Navy is “weaving that thread of security through everything — securing our data, securing our devices, securing our networks and our transport.”