US Department of Defense just had a massive VPN upgrade

As businesses and other organizations shifted to working from home during the pandemic, so too did the US Department of Defense’s Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) which worked to bolster network and VPN capacity.

In a recent keynote address to the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Vice Admiral Nancy Norton provided more details on the measures DISA and the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Networks (DODIN) took to ensure that its staff could keep working during the pandemic.

According to Norton, the DISA and JFHQ/DODIN team helped orchestrate an exponential increase in network capacity to allow department employees to continue doing their jobs remotely. This work consisted of adding new circuits as well as increasing the amount of bandwidth and conference call lines available.

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VPN and network upgrades

Since March of this year, DISA has provisioned circuits which increased its network capacity by almost 500 gigabits per second. The agency added 63 new circuits since the beginning of the pandemic with 39 more pending activation.

DISA also worked with the US Army, Air Force and joint partners to ensure they had reliable VPN access. When it came to the Army, the agency increased its VPN access and reliability by nearly 300 percent. At the same time, DISA also provided significantly increased VPN capability to the Air Force. For joint partners, the agency increased VPN access by more than 1,000 percent to support around 122,000 remote connections a day.

Norton explained in a blog post that she wants to maintain these increased capabilities for mobile work even after the pandemic subsides, saying:

“For years, we have been moving toward a more mobile, capable workforce, where data are accessible anywhere and at any time. Together with our mission partners, we are capturing the processes and lessons learned for what we do for our mission partners, and we want many of these force-strengthening changes to be enduring.”

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