Pentagon awards IT managers for security, integration

Awards given to teams and individuals for fighting off cyberattacks and for enhancing information sharing.

The Pentagon on Friday recognized three individuals and five teams for efforts to enhance efficiency and information delivery through technology projects.

Comment on this article in The Forum.The winners of the Defense Department Chief Information Officers Awards included the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations, which won first place in the team category for reducing penetrations of the Global Information Grid by 30 percent despite a 53 percent per increase in intrusion attempts.

The first-place winner in the individual category was Army Lt. Col. Anthony Evans, product manager for the Battle Command Service Support System. The Pentagon recognized him for his work in integrating information from multiple sources into the map-focused Army logistics command-and-control system.

The award citation for JTF-GNO offered rare insight into the work performed by the secretive organization, which is part of the U.S. Strategic Command, to protect civilian and military information systems worldwide. The JTF-GNO team led the response from industry, government and law enforcement to fight the Storm Worm, the largest peer-to-peer botnet attack to strike Europe and the United States.

The Storm Worm was first discovered in January 2007 and lulled users to click on an e-mail that contained a warning of a severe storm, hence its name. By clicking on the e-mail message, the user unwittingly downloaded malware that allowed a hacker to take control of the computer and make it part of a botnet, which the hacker then could use to steal personal information or to send spam e-mails.

Estimates of the number of PCs hijacked by the original Storm Worm ranged from 1 million to 10 million. Hackers introduced a variant of the worm in July with an e-mail that had the subject FBI vs. Facebook, which when clicked made the PC part of the Storm Worm botnet.

The Army Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care won second place in the team category, announced by Defense CIO John Grimes. MC4 fielded more than 24,000 computers to units operating in Afghanistan and Iraq and 12 other countries. The computers have collected more than 5.6 million battlefield electronic health records, which clinicians transmit to a central data repository in the United States. The award cited MC4 for increasing efficiency and accuracy from 50 percent to 95 percent.

The Army Knowledge Online/Defense Knowledge Online was awarded third place. Grimes cited the team for making the portal the primary entry point to Defense intranets for shared data and tools and said it is now "the premier site for tools that enable DoD organizations to communicate and collaborate securely and effectively."

The site has 2.5 million users and this month tallied its 1 billionth log in, more than any other portal for the federal government.

The Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned received fourth place for what Grimes termed revolutionizing sharing information from combat through the Joint Lessons Learned Information System, which many federal agencies use.

Grimes awarded fifth place to the National Security Agency for its Secure Mobile Environment-Portable Electronic Device, a wireless phone that can operate on the Defense Secret Intranet Protocol Network. SIPRnet manages secure voice calls, e-mail and Web browsing with the ability to operate on cell phone networks globally by plugging in a radio module.

General Dynamics and L-3 Communications manufacture the secure phones for Defense.

The second place for individual awards went to Maj. Douglas Gimlich, chief information officer for the European Air Force Surgeon General's Office. Gimlich won for centralizing technology support globally for medical information technology, which the TRICARE military health plan adopted as a model for development of an interactive Web application to track airmen treated in emergency rooms.

Air Force Lt. Col. Angela Burth, who the information technology portfolio management officer for the Joint Staff, won the individual third-place award. Burth designed the first annual IT portfolio management review for the Joint Staff, which identified 82 IT investments valued at $86 million a year. The award said Burth's work was key to alignment of Joint Staff IT strategic plans to the visions and priorities of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.