Leidos’ Chad Buechel on consolidating 35 help desks, 30 networks and 2,500 data centers for DES
Chad Buechel, vice president and division manager for Defense Enclave Services at Leidos, spoke with Federal News Network's Jason Miller about network modernization at US defense agencies.
“We are thrilled and excited to be partnering with DOD to build a new platform for common IT,” Buechel said. He said that effort, called Defense Enclave Services, or DES, often gets less fanfare than other, larger programs at Leidos but is no less critical.
One of the top priorities for DES, according to Buechel: data protection and data security. “In parallel to that, we are trying to rapidly deploy, innovate, and modernize [network] speed.” All while ensuring a good user experience so people can do their work efficiently with minimal friction.
Buechel said cloud capabilities help in all of these areas. For example, cloud-based cybersecurity tooling lets developers and users rapidly analyze and visualize activity to protect data proactively. The cloud also offers greater resiliency in the event of failures. “If an environment goes down, we have replication and duplication elsewhere,” he said. “That gives us the ability to access [data] with the same credentials and identity management capabilities we had before.”
Buechel outlined two critical ingredients for DES success: consistent communications to align stakeholders, and a clear understanding of each organization's unique needs. “Different organizations have unique levels of IT, maturity, and mission support that need to be accounted for,” Buechel explained. “One-size-fits-all doesn't always work.” Along the way, the DES team aims to institutionalize continuous service improvement and innovation.
The DES effort benefits from four major initiatives, according to Buechel.
The Leidos Software Factory is a multi-location innovation hub delivering mission-critical software solutions, including for DES.
Zero trust architectures secure data at every level, from hardware and software to the cloud, stopping incursions from spreading beyond the point of entry.
AI and ML
The DES team relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate manual processes, saving users time and freeing them for higher-level tasks.
To deliver “a better, more effective and efficient mission performance, we continue to work with our mission partner, DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency),” Buechel said.
Working with DISA on the DES roadmap “cloud gives us the ability to more rapidly move data back and forth,” Buechel said. He said cloud services are also instrumental to modernizing faster thanks to their ability to scale new technologies to large numbers of users quickly.
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