By Rachel Ponder, APG NewsDecember 30, 2019
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz.- The U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command, one of the five subordinate elements of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, serves as the U.S. Army distributed testing lab to ensure the warfighter's communication needs are met with a functional, secure network infrastructure.
In 2008, there was a backlog of commercial-off-the-shelf products seeking placement on the Department of Defense Information Network Approved Products List. The Joint Interoperability Test Command was the sole government agency ensuring that COTS systems met baseline cybersecurity and interoperability requirements.
"The JITC simply could not maintain the constantly increasing demand without accruing a backlog," said project lead engineer James Hatch of ISEC.
Hatch said distributed testing was implemented in 2010 to reduce the backlog for APL product testing and to eliminate "stovepipe testing," or testing that only focused on an individual component's mission or requirements.
"Stovepipe testing results were not typically disseminated to other services, so they primarily benefitted only the single DOD component," he said. "Distributed testing introduced the concept of testing once for many."
As of 2019, there are six facilities supporting distributed testing:
• JITC- Fort Huachuca, Arizona
• JITC-Fort Meade, Maryland
• Defense Information Systems Agency-Fort Meade
• Air Force: Telecommunications Systems Security Assessment Program- Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas
• Navy: Naval Information Warfare Center-Portsmouth, Virginia
• Army: USAISEC- Mission Engineering Directorate, Technology Integration Center, Fort Huachuca
Army's Role in Distributed Testing
Hatch said the ISEC distributed testing lab's workload is typically between 30 to 35% of all products that are currently being processed for the APL.
The ISEC distributed testing lab uses a commercially-funded business model to fund testing labor and infrastructure to support the distributed testing mission, he said. ISEC's distributed testing lab has the capability and approval to test 37 of the 61 product categories managed by DISA.
According to Hatch, ISEC is developing capabilities to support testing of collaboration products and data storage controller products. Additionally, ISEC is coordinating with JITC and with installation certifying authority representatives to establish the infrastructure and the authorizations to conduct testing of cloud-based services and products which will be hosted on commercially-based, Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program-certified cloud infrastructures.
Hatch described distributed testing as a "resounding success." As a result of distributed testing, the Army now has access to cutting-edge products submitted by commercial vendors, he said.
"Continuation of this support will allow DOD and the component agencies to more rapidly test and certify state-of-the art commercial products in DOD IT infrastructures, facilitating optimal support of the warfighter's communication requirements and cyber operations," he said.
ISEC provides engineering and associated support of information technology at Army posts, camps, and stations; interconnection between installations and extension to deployed forces. ISEC empowers the Army to succeed now and in the future by embodying the Army's priorities of readiness, future capabilities and employee development. The mission of ISEC is to provide cyber engineering, integration, implementation, evaluation, and cyber security engineering to the joint warfighter worldwide.
For more information, visit https://cecom.army.mil/USAISEC.