DOD gives green light for rapid transition to Windows 10

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The Pentagon will be fully upgraded to Windows 10 by next February. (iStockphoto)

The Defense Department has given the green light to its massive roll out of Windows 10, with the goal to change 4 million devices and systems by early 2017.

Microsoft announced the start of the DOD initiative in a Wednesday blog post, which puts the aggressive transition into action after DOD CIO Terry Halvorsen issued a memo in November calling on every combatant command, service, agency and field activity to prepare for the move.

“This is an unprecedented move for the DoD and the largest enterprise deployment of Windows 10 to date,” wrote Microsoft’s federal CTO Susie Adams in the blog post.

In addition, the company announced Wednesday that its Surface tablets have been cleared by the National Information Assurance Program and placed on the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Unified Capabilities Approved Products List, meeting the strict security and interoperability standards needed before the government allows agencies to buy the devices in bulk.

Microsoft has touted Windows 10 as the most secure version of Windows ever made, adding on layers of data protection that can protect credentials. Another feature also makes easier a push for multifactor authentication, which has been a governmentwide priority since the White House released its Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan last summer.

The transition comes as Halvorsen is trying to improve cybersecurity at the Pentagon while also reining in the department’s IT costs.

The biggest thing we have to do is develop an enterprise culture,” Halvorsen said at a media roundtable held by the Christian Science Monitor last October. “Cybersecurity is a big piece of that and we have to get much better.”

In the November memo, Halvorsen stressed that teams inside the DOD will have little leeway when it comes to meeting next year’s deadline. CIOs inside the agency will be given waivers on a case-by-case basis and need approval from Halvorsen to delay the transition.

Contact the reporter on this story via email at greg.otto@fedscoop.com, or follow him on Twitter at @gregotto. His OTR and PGP info can be found hereSubscribe to the Daily Scoop for stories like this in your inbox every morning by signing up here: fdscp.com/sign-me-on.

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Department of Defense (DOD), Departments, Microsoft Windows, Surface Pro, tablet, Terry Halvorsen
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