Defense IT Priorities and Strategies, 2018-2023

Published: December 20, 2018

Federal Market AnalysisBig DataBusiness SystemsCloud ComputingContracting TrendsCybersecurityHealth ITJoint Information Environment (JIE)MobilityNational Defense Authorization ActPolicy and LegislationResearch and DevelopmentSmall BusinessSoftware-Defined InfrastructureUnmanned Systems

Deltek's Defense IT Priorities and Strategies, 2018-2023 report examines the factors shaping the Department of Defense’s information technology environment, priorities and key investment areas.

The Department of Defense (DOD) is experiencing a period of extraordinary transition as it strives to transform nearly every aspect of its IT ecosystem – from IT management and modernization to technology innovation and acquisition. Persistent pressure from global adversaries continue to make technology and communications a contested environment, driving DOD to form new operating structures and accelerate the delivery of new capabilities. Cyber-operations – both offensive and defensive – increasingly permeate nearly every operational area of the DOD mission.

Infrastructure modernization of the DOD’s core network backbone continues to move the department toward a shared and secure Joint Information Environment (JIE). New capabilities are being delivered using cloud computing-based platforms, including the enterprise-wide deployment of big data analytics, mobile devices, and machine learning. Demands for speed, agility, effectiveness and efficiency are reshaping IT leadership and management policy, and spurring new and alternative acquisition approaches to rapidly develop and field new capabilities, such as Other Transaction Authority (OTA).

These and other efforts to increase the efficiency of research and development and prototyping efforts are affecting investments in cybersecurity, unmanned systems, health IT, business systems and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. This report examines the DOD’s efforts to leverage the policy evolution, acquisition advancement and technical innovation required to support its IT modernization strategy over the coming years.

Key Findings

  • The approval of the DOD’s first full-year appropriations at the onset of FY 2019, combined with a $17B increase in base budget for the year, positions DOD for a more consistent approach to pursuing its readiness priorities. Party leadership changes in the House will likely temper growth in FY 2020.
  • The elevation of the DOD space mission through the initiation of the U.S. Space Command and plans for potential U.S. Space Force underscores the rising priority of space as a warfighting domain. Development of the space combat posture will drive organizational and acquisition changes as well as technology and skill-set demands.
  • Provisions in the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act will push DOD toward enterprise management of IT resources and to rationalization of current CIO functions. The NDAA also increases the influence of the CMO in IT business applications and operations.
  • Organizations across the DOD are using Other Transaction Authority (OTA) more frequently for IT requirements, including for cybersecurity prototypes and cloud procurements. Further, R&D efforts procured through OTA commonly employ IT, but are not labeled as IT. Congress has directed the DOD to study OTA data to ensure proper usage.
  • Cybersecurity operations – both offensive and defensive – are seemingly becoming inseparable within DOD technology policy. This trend will continue to drive security posture reviews and remediation measures of all defense systems and platforms and stoking capability- and capacity-building efforts across the department.
  • DOD made a strategic transition to cloud – both government and commercial – in fiscal 2018 as its primary solution for application and data center rationalization. Growing confidence in milCloud 2.0 has the military departments using it more than they previously intended. However, controversy surrounding DOD’s commitment to a single contract for the JEDI cloud could delay its implementation.
  • DOD’s investments in big data analytics and technologies are expanding in areas such as healthcare, cybersecurity, business systems, and combat support operations. The naming of component Chief Data Officers signals that DOD is taking a more enterprise-wide approach to managing data and applying advanced analytics.
  • DOD’s use of mobile devices for computing and communication is growing as the department focuses on new methods of securing the data accessed rather than the devices. DISA is expected to expand its classified mobile device offerings as it rolls out Software-Defined Network capabilities in FY 2019.
  • The interest in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and software-defined networking is driving spending in R&D, but other investments to standardize data and upgrade technical architectures are needed to leverage many of these capabilities.
  • Critical Insight for Vendors

    Deltek’s Defense IT Priorities and Strategies, 2018-2023 report examines the policy and other factors shaping the DOD’s procurement of information technology goods and services.

    The report provides:

  • Insight into the legislative factors shaping DOD’s technology leadership.
  • Analysis of the legislative and policy dynamics shaping the defense technology market.
  • Assessment of the key mission-enabling technologies driving opportunities for contractors doing business with the DOD.
  • Review of the current and potential adoption of emerging technologies by DOD.
  • Recommendations to help contractors evaluate the impact of trends on their business.
  • Deltek's Defense IT Priorities and Strategies, 2018-2023 report is delivered in PowerPoint® format, including a PowerPoint® Executive Briefing, and an Excel® data workbook.

    Defense IT Priorities and Strategies, 2018-20232


  • Purpose of This Report
  • Scope
  • Methodology
  • Key Findings
  • Defense IT Landscape

  • Defense Budget Environment
  • Defense Policy Environment
  • Defense Acquisition Environment
  • Technology Priorities

  • Joint Information Environment
  • Cloud Computing
  • Information Security
  • Big Data
  • ISR/Unmanned Systems
  • Mobility
  • Business Systems
  • Health IT
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Other Emerging Technology
  • Conclusions and Recommendations