Coffee & Conversation with Doug Cossa

August 23, 2022

On Tuesday, August 23, 2022, Doug Cossa, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) joined INSA’s Executive Vice President, John Doyon for a virtual discussion of his top priorities, including modernization of the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS) and the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS).

Mr. Cossa discussed his approach and focus, prioritizing people, facilities, IT, collections, analysis, and perhaps most importantly, modernization. An important aspect of increased modernization is the ability to assure that cloud-based services are integrated and that it can be provided seamlessly for the user.

He went on to address the importance of having a robust IT infrastructure to enable newer technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics. When thinking about AI, the conversation typically addresses the importance of it at the application level, however, it is critical to provide adequate storage, network bandwidth, and security to support AI and machine learning at scale. It is critical for DIA to make improvements in its backend infrastructure.

As part of the JWICS modernization efforts discussed, Cossa stressed the importance of having full integration with our international partners. Systems like STONE GHOST have allowed the United States to access and share data with our Five Eyes partners in an expeditious manner.  We also need to have robust connectivity with other allies, including NATO and coalition partners.  These improvements will provide greater access to information sharing and ease the barriers that may preclude timely data access.

In closing, he discussed the efforts being made at DIA to support the neurodiverse community. DIA has partnered with local schools to hire members of the neurodiverse community, not just at the college level, but high schools as well. Additionally, as part of its membership on the federal disabilities council, DIA has prioritized the recruitment of members of the deaf and hard of hearing community. The insight and priorities shared by Mr. Cossa during this virtual event provided attendees both in industry and government a look into the important work DIA is doing to secure information throughout the IC.