Overview

“Quality of Life” is an especially popular term used in the military, because both service members and their families are often threatened by the upheaval of deployments, frequent moves and demanding work schedules. As something the Department of Defense (DoD) takes seriously, quality of life directly impacts the retention of its workforce. Accordingly, the DoD has implemented several programs and policies to ease the burden of the hardships and make life better for its people.

Within the DoD, Military Community & Family Policy (MC&FP) is the office whose mission is to coordinate and support community quality of life programs worldwide; but to carry out this mission, MC&FP needs the correct technology structure in place. MC&FP needed to transition its IT systems to a more advanced, accessible and secure platform— while still supporting and maintaining the existing structure.  That’s when Three Wire stepped in to provide a solution.

Background

The Military Community & Family Policy (MC&FP) office, which falls under the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, is responsibility for a wide range of quality of life services and programs for the military. These include:

  • Family support services (such as child care, youth programs, family advocacy, and support during deployment)
  • Program policy for dependents’ education programs
  • Program policy for Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs
  • Coordination for the services of nonprofit agencies such as the Red Cross

The utility of these services depends on service members and their families knowing about them and being able to access them, which in turn depends on a secure and reliable technology base. In order to get this done, the office created the MC&FP enclave. This enclave develops and maintains an array of applications and websites which support military service members and their families.

MC&FP uses the enclave to create, distribute and manage email lists for community newsletters, announcements and organization magazines. All of the materials created in the enclave are delivered as mass email submissions through an email server with both in-bound and out-bound communication. MC&FP also uses the enclave to produce many public facing websites with unrestricted and restricted access.

Over time, as the demands for these services grew, MC&FP realized it needed a stronger system to support the enclave. Recognizing that they needed help in updating the IT systems that comprise the MC&FP enclave, the program turned to Three Wire for help.

Solution

The scope of the problem was complex. When Three Wire began working on a solution for MC&FP, their primary objective was to evaluate, understand and modernize the existing technology that MC&FP used. Three Wire needed to perform systems and database administration, design new network architectures, streamline operations, adhere to DoD Information Assurance programs, and much more. Ultimately, the solution required a combination of reverse engineering existing systems and creating interoperability with legacy systems so MC&FP could efficiently and securely manage and migrate information into the new system.

There were several issues that Three Wire needed to address:

  • Create interoperability with existing legacy technology stack. The legacy solution consisted of numerous IT environments, primarily surrounded by Oracle-based development.
  • Ensure administrative management of Military OneSource. MC&FP needed to be able to manage the administration of Military OneSource (MOS), to include all supporting applications, platforms and websites feeding into MOS. MOS is one of the key programs used by MC&FP which provides service members and their families with access to a wide variety of resources and confidential support, 24 hours a day.
  • Enhance security for communications. Due to the size and number of connected portals that communicate in the enclave, Three Wire needed to facilitate secure, multi-way communication, with multi-lingual capabilities built into the solution. Three Wire used multiple zone-security configurations to enhance the security of the enclave. This solution ensured the user’s protection whether in a social media environment or sending emails, courtesy of Three Wire’s online application access.
  • Manage system security certification accreditation. Three Wire continues to manage the DoD system security certification and accreditation postures required to sustain the current Military Community and Family Policy Enclave, .NET and MySECO platforms, and MOS email platform. Network security is managed through a Risk Management Framework (RMF) with documentation surrounding ongoing MCFPE architectural changes.
  • Build in flexibility for future growth. In developing a solution, the Three Wire team took future growth into account and incorporated numerous technologies into the project to ensure a healthy, secure future for the MC&FP en The agile and OSS methodologies deployed by Three Wire enabled effective modernization as increased data, secure communications and outreach to constituents stress the legacy infrastructure.

Results

Three Wire created a technology solution for MC&FP that provides high-value IT resources and outputs that are creative, cost effective and easy-to-use. By reverse engineering and transitioning the program to a modern architecture and technology stack of secure components, Three Wire was able to update the program while enhancing its security, managing its help-desk, and architecting its future. Because Three Wire also manages the ongoing certification and accreditation process for the system according to DoD requirements, the enclave remains secure and compliant. Moreover, Three Wire’s solution promotes agile development and leadership teams to not only work with but, more importantly, embrace the marriage of older and newer technologies. The end result is a sustainable and flexible enclave that bridges communication between portals, military units and military families in a secure, user-friendly environment. All this translates into improved access to the programs and services that MC&FP offers to military service members and their families around the world; and that, in turn, translates into a better quality of life.