By Jared D. Auchey, Lt. Col., USA (Ret.) for Army AL&T magazineMay 28, 2024

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
BA-08 pilot is vital for safeguarding Army’s information networks.

The Single Appropriation Pilot for Software and Digital Technology Budget Activity (BA) 08 builds upon current and previous initiatives to align acquisition processes to the evolving and fast-paced technological and adversarial environment and the imperative outlined in the interim National Security Strategic Guidance. This pilot helps the Project Manager for Defensive Cyber Operations (PM DCO), within the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, protect the Army’s network and information systems and expedite the implementation of vital defensive cyberspace systems.

The traditional approach to funding software development has proven cumbersome and inefficient in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape. The practice of relying on multiple appropriations for various stages of software acquisition is inefficient, resulting in delays and increased costs and leaving the Army’s network and information systems vulnerable to increased risks of adversary attacks.

The Defense Innovation Board’s Software Acquisition and Practices study and the report to Congress on the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act Sec. 874 Agile pilots highlighted the necessity of modernizing the acquisition process to keep pace with technological advancements. The BA-08 effort represents a significant step toward modernization and ensures that DOD remains at the forefront of innovation in the defense sector. In 2020, PM DCO was named one of eight Office of the Secretary of Defense pilot programs.

The idea for the ongoing BA-08 pilot program was inspired by suggestions from various reports, studies and DOD initiatives to bridge the gap between contemporary software development methods and the division of funds for research, development, test and evaluation, procurement and operations and maintenance.

The BA-08 pilot is pivotal because it enables PM DCO to streamline the software acquisition process by allowing a single appropriation for all software and technology activities, regardless of their stage of development. By consolidating funding into one category, the pilot helps PM DCO promote software development and be more responsive to warfighter needs.

The pilot underscores the importance of modernizing the software acquisition process for cyber defense capabilities. As cyberthreats become more sophisticated, the ability to rapidly develop and deploy defensive systems is paramount for ensuring the security and effectiveness of Army IT operations in any domain.

By consolidating funding into a single appropriation for software and technology activities, the pilot optimizes programming and budgeting efforts for PM DCO initiatives. “BA-08 allows the assistant program managers to focus on development efforts instead of focusing on how to fund the effort,” said Linda Jones, Ph.D., deputy project manager for PM DCO. This streamlined approach mitigates delays in software acquisition, reduces overall lifetime costs of software development and accelerates the deployment of critical defensive cyberspace systems.

By leveraging the flexibility and efficiency of the BA-08 pilot program, PM DCO can better adapt to the dynamic cyberthreat landscape and stay ahead of adversaries. Additionally, the pilot supports the mission readiness of the Army and reinforces DOD’s commitment to innovation and agility in the face of evolving security challenges.

PM DCO rapidly delivers innovative and dominant cyberspace capabilities and tailored IT solutions for national, joint and allied partners. (Photo Credit: PM DCO) VIEW ORIGINAL


In today’s digital age, cyber warfare has become increasingly critical in ensuring the security and effectiveness of military operations. PM DCO plays a crucial role in rapidly delivering innovative and dominant cyberspace capabilities and tailored information technology solutions for our national, joint and allied partners. Its capabilities safeguard critical systems and networks and provide a decisive warfighting information advantage in the ever-evolving cyber domain.

One of the organization’s key strengths is its ability to provide rapid prototyping, deployable and cloud-based defensive cyber solutions, applications and analytics to meet the needs of the operational forces and to aid in detection of cyberthreats.

As a leader in the field of cyberspace operations, PM DCO is dedicated to delivering innovative, integrated and cost-effective solutions that address the complex challenges of modern warfare. Our proactive approach enhances the resilience of military networks and ensures that the Army maintains a strategic advantage in cyberspace operations.

In essence, PM DCO is a strategic asset that enables the Army to stay ahead of emerging threats, protect vital assets and uphold the integrity of national defense. As technology advances and cyberthreats become more sophisticated, PM DCO capabilities must also adapt to remain relevant and instrumental in safeguarding military readiness and achieving mission success in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

PM DCO capabilities enable the Army to defend systems, networks and critical infrastructure that enable national security. (Photo Credit: PM DCO) VIEW ORIGINAL


PM DCO also plays a key role in defending the Department of Defense Information Network – Army (DODIN-A) by rapidly delivering innovative and dominant cyberspace capabilities that protect critical infrastructure and national security interests.

DODIN-A is the Army’s portion of DODIN, responsible for providing secure, reliable and resilient communication and information services to support military operations. PM DCO programs support DODIN-A infrastructure by providing vital platform and security measures. Essentially, PM DCO serves as the cornerstone in safeguarding the integrity and operational capability of DODIN-A, ensuring preparedness and resilience against potential cyberthreats.

PM DCO programs are fundamental in achieving a variety of strategic objectives in protecting DODIN-A from cyberthreats. PM DCO measures act as a powerful deterrent, discouraging malicious actors from targeting the network and equipping the Army with the means to detect, destroy and defeat cyberthreats to ensure the network’s integrity. By securing key terrain in the cyber domain, PM DCO initiatives help safeguard critical assets and infrastructure, while also protecting designated critical assets and contributing to intelligence development.

BA-08 funding frees program managers from focusing on funding issues and instead focus on improving capabilities for warfighters, improving program responsiveness and speeding delivery times. (Photo Credit: PM DCO) VIEW ORIGINAL


In the realm of cyber warfare, responsiveness, predictability and efficiency are critical factors in ensuring the effectiveness of defensive cyber operations. The introduction of the BA-08 funding initiative has changed the way PM DCO manages resources, allocates budgets and meets the ever-changing needs of warfighters in the cyber domain. By establishing a standardized framework for budget allocation and management, the BA-08 funding program is poised to enhance operational efficiency, accelerate administrative processes and bolster responsiveness to the dynamic requirements of warfighters. This streamlined approach affords program managers the advantage of a predetermined two-year appropriation, eliminating the need for resource-reallocation complexities to adapt to rapidly evolving needs and circumventing the bureaucratic hurdles associated with shifting between appropriations. By leveraging a standardized funding framework, the PM DCO program is better equipped to navigate the dynamic cyber landscape, deliver innovative solutions and maintain the security and readiness of Army operations in the cyber domain.

By streamlining administrative processes and providing a clear and predictable budget allocation structure, BA-08 enables program managers to swiftly address cyber warfighters’ rapidly evolving needs. The strategic use of BA-08 funding optimizes programming and budgeting endeavors, averts delays in software procurement and reduces the overall lifetime expenses associated with software development. By facilitating the swift adaptation of resource planning and programming within the program objective memorandum framework, this funding mechanism enables agile prototyping and procurement cycles that are traditionally challenging to pre-program over extended timeframes, thereby curbing overhead costs and conserving valuable time and financial resources for the Army.

Unlike traditional budget management approaches that involve cumbersome reprogramming actions and approval processes, BA-08 funding offers a two-year appropriation cycle, eliminating the need for constant adjustments and reallocations to accommodate changing requirements. This predictability expedites the decision-making processes and ensures that resources are allocated more efficiently to support mission-critical operations.

Moreover, the predictability offered by the BA-08 funding initiative optimizes programming and budgeting efforts within PM DCO’s programs. By mitigating delays in software acquisition and reducing overall lifetime costs of software development, BA-08 enables the program to overcome challenges in planning and programming resources. This is particularly beneficial in navigating the complexities of the program objective memorandum and enabling accelerated prototyping and procurement cycles that may be difficult to program years in advance. The streamlined approach minimizes overhead costs and saves significant time and resources for the Army, ultimately enhancing the program’s agility and responsiveness. Before being part of the BA-08 pilot program, project managers would have to figure out how to use the three appropriations to accomplish ever-changing requirements. This typically meant going to legal agents to find out what was allowed and looking for every option to use one appropriation in lieu of another. Decisions were sometimes put on hold while a project manager waited for a legal decision or attempted to move money around within the Army as a reprograming action. BA-08 makes it easy for policymakers and managers to evaluate funding options and trade-offs, enabling faster delivery of solutions.

PM DCO capabilities within the BA-08 pilot fall into four categories: unified security information exchange management; security, orchestration, automation and response; supervisory control and data acquisition; and hardware and software. (Photo Credit: PM DCO) VIEW ORIGINAL


At present, Congress conducts an annual review and approval of the pilot program as part of the appropriations bill process. “BA-08 stands out as a key component among several ongoing initiatives and endeavors aimed at fostering flexibility in fund reallocation across software program development, procurement and maintenance,” said Robert Zoppa, PM DCO project manager. “This flexibility makes it easier for projects to concentrate on their primary goal of establishing initial operational capabilities while also allocating remaining resources toward further iterations to enhance capabilities.”

With BA-08 in place, the Army’s network and information systems are bolstered, enabling PM DCO to enhance acquisition velocity and prioritize swift development and delivery of vital capabilities, effectively fortifying our defenses against adversary attacks and minimizing critical gaps in response to threats. The absence of BA-08 funding would result in expense-driven budgeting issues, reduced support to Agile software development and slower delivery of critical cyber capabilities. This would impede the program’s ability to keep pace with changing requirements, significantly impacting the execution of mission-critical tasks.

In essence, adopting the BA-08 funding initiative has changed how PM DCO program manages resources and responds to warfighter needs, and has strengthened the readiness and security of Army operations in the face of evolving cyberthreats. By enabling faster delivery of capabilities, reducing lifetime costs and enhancing predictability in programming and budgeting efforts, BA-08 funding has positioned PM DCO as a leader in defensive cyberspace operations within the military.

As technology advances and cyberthreats become more sophisticated, the benefits of BA-08 funding will be paramount in safeguarding national security and maintaining a strategic advantage in cyberspace operations.

For more information, go to https://peoiews.army.mil/pm-dco/.

 JARED AUCHEY, LT. COL., USA (RET.), retired from the Army with 24 years of service and serves as the strategic communications specialist for PM DCO. He holds an M.A. in leadership development from Penn State University, an M.A. in strategic security studies from National Defense University and B.A. in political science and crime, law and justice from Penn State University.

Read the full article in the Spring 2024 issue of Army AL&T magazine.
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