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    Cohesive teams drive NETCOM’s continuous improvement, Army 365 migration

    Army 365 and NETCOM

    Courtesy Photo | “By integrating cloud-based Army 365 capabilities into our current processes, we not...... read more read more



    Story by Enrique Vasquez 

    U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command

    FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz.-- As the U.S. Army continues to support the Department of Defense’s Zero Trust initiatives, the Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) along with its mission partners remain committed to implementing user-friendly and secure collaborative platforms like Army 365.

    Army 365 is built with Zero Trust in mind. Zero Trust begins with a foundation of identity and device protections, represented by Azure Active Directory and its relationship with the DoD Global Federated User Directory to populate user identities. The Army 365 platform replaces the Defense Enterprise Email (DEE) and adds collaborative tools like Teams and Office 365 that can be accessed from remote and mobile devices across the Department of Defense Information Network – Army (DODIN-A).

    Fundamentally, the Army’s full-scale migration from (DEE) to Army 365 is the largest organizational cloud migration in history, impacting 1.4 million users throughout the entire Army. This includes migrating 895k user email accounts, 9 petabytes of SharePoint (SPO) content, nearly a decade of organizational network file storage, and initiating the development and implementation of an alternative official Army email for 250k Army personnel, which saves a minimum of $35 million annually.

    According to Stu Wells, NETCOM G35 Future Operations, project manager, the Army 365 migration allows the Army to reduce costs associated with unused services and capabilities. This advances the Army towards achieving the end states established in the Army Data Strategy, Army Data Plan and Army Unified Network Plan.

    “That is just part of the story, the end user now has significant more capability and options available to help them accomplish their mission.” Wells said.

    Wells also added that data analytic tools are available to all users as well as the published data supporting Army commands and missions. In addition, new user capabilities are continuing to make their way into the Army environment as digital modernization efforts continue.

    Ultimately, web access has expanded to Microsoft Teams and all the Microsoft Office products. Previously, only enterprise e-mail was available for remote and mobile users.

    Reaching total Army 365 migration continues to be a top priority for NETCOM. For this endeavor, NETCOM pulled together a cohesive team of motivated experts from within the headquarters and among subordinate units to form a task force. This core group laid the foundation for the effort and recruited Army Champions to assist with messaging, testing and deployment of the capabilities.

    During the DOD Chief Information Officer Annual Awards last December, NETCOM Members of the Army 365, fusion cell team, earned recognition for their efforts in implementing the Army’s Office 365 tenant (Army 365). The Army 365 fusion cell managed the implementation of establishing the largest Office 365 tenant in the DoD and the second largest in the world.

    Likewise, it is NETCOM’s continuous improvement strategy based on talented individuals and developed over the last few years that drove the Army’s 365 migration efforts.

    “For Army 365, we picked a strong leader. We surrounded them with other talented people. We resourced them and the result was Army 365. That was [definitely] a NETCOM product,” said Patrick Dedham, NETCOM Deputy to the Commanding General.

    Not only did the team’s cohesiveness among NETCOM cohorts play a significant part in the Army 365 initiatives but so did NETCOM’s association with its mission partners like Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA) G-6 and Microsoft.

    DISA provided all the Services with the Office 365 Technical Configuration Guides that standardized and ensured interoperability between the environments.

    “The DISA team was an essential partner as we migrated from DEE and Defense Enterprise Portal Service. Additionally, DISA remains a close partner as we continue to develop and mature the Business to Business (B2B) relationships between the Service and DoD Office 365 tenants,” Wells said.

    In retrospect, the HQDA team remained consistent partners with NETCOM throughout the entire Army 365 effort. They ran overarching integrated planning teams to establish strategy and guidance for the implementation of the Office 365 technologies. Additionally, a lot of effort was spent to get the Army licensing model established correctly with Microsoft that allowed the Army to meet regulatory and Congressional mandates while enabling future growth of the capabilities.

    “It is hard to emphasize how significant this is with the licensing given the size and scope of the Army mission. There were a lot of “first ever” contracting arrangements made that will drive the Army forward for years to come,” Wells said.

    Currently the Army has completed migrations form e-mail and Teams. The remaining migrations are in progress are for SPO and on-premises file storage capabilities. Thus, SPO migrations are at approximately 63% complete. SPO migrations are to be completed with a target of May 2023. On-premises, file share migrations will continue after that date and aligned with the lifecycle of the on-premises equipment.

    NETCOM and its mission partners have demonstrated how important it is to embrace continuous improvement via the Army 365 migrations and move towards using more collaborative software platforms to improve how the Army communicates across its networks.

    “By integrating cloud-based Army 365 capabilities into our current processes, we not only take full advantage of Army 365’s collaborative power, but we increase our productivity and effectiveness. The Army’s approach brings improved security, flexibility and innovation that we need as we move to one unified network,” said Lt. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff, G-6.



    Date Taken: 03.17.2023
    Date Posted: 03.18.2023 02:14
    Story ID: 440696
    Hometown: FORT GORDON, GA, US
    Hometown: FORT MEADE, MD, US

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