Will DOD keep collaborating after CVR?

Commercial Virtual Remote, spun up last year to support pandemic telework, goes away this summer. DISA is working to ensure the cloud collaboration continues.

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The Department of Defense's Commercial Virtual Remote environment, spun up to accommodate telework in the COVID-19 pandemic, quickly became the largest Microsoft Teams deployment in the world -- and brought department-wide collaboration tools to DOD after years of less-successful attempts.

DOD personnel have embraced the tools and the silo-spanning interactions they enable, but CVR was always intended as a temporary fix. So the Defense Information Systems Agency is working hard to ensure the collaboration doesn't fade when CVR sunsets in July.

Les Benito, the director of operations for DISA's Cloud Computing Program Office, said that Global Directory is the key. Speaking at FCW and Defense Systems' March 10 event on Defense Readiness, Benito explained that the initiative will provide "a cloud-wide identity" as the military services spin up their own Microsoft 365 environments under the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS) contract.

DISA began developing Global Directory last summer, Benito said, with the goal of augmenting, not replacing, existing identity and access management systems. System owners "still control access within their individual tenancies," he stressed, but having a shared identity framework will allow for "a CVR-like experience that users have grown to expect."

A minimum viable product was tested in the fall, and DISA is now using Global Directory for its "DOD365" implementation. The Army and Navy also are using it for their DEOS implementations, Benito said, with the Air Force and the U.S. Southern Command coming on board in April and "others to follow this summer."