Defense Information System Network

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The Defense Information System Network (DISN) has been the United States Department of Defense's enterprise network for providing data, video and voice services for 40 years.[1]

The Defense Information System Network (DISN) is a worldwide-protected telecommunications network that enables the exchange of information in an interoperable and global space, partitioned by security demands, transmission requirements, and geographic needs of targeted end-user communities. The DISN offers a selection of integrated standards-based services to fulfill these connectivity needs. The services provide Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) mission partners with capability options to support diverse telecommunication requirements for organizations focused on, but not limited to, the Department of Defense (DoD).

DISN End-to-End Infrastructure Responsibilities[edit]

The DISN end-to-end infrastructure is composed of three major segments:

  • The sustaining base (I.e. base, post, camp, or station, and Service enterprise networks). The Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) infrastructure will interface with the long-haul network to support the deployed warfighter. The sustaining base segment is primarily the responsibility of the individual Services.
  • The long-haul transport infrastructure, which includes the communication systems and services between the fixed environments and the deployed Joint Task Force (JTF) and/or Coalition Task Force (CTF) warfighter. The long-haul telecommunications infrastructure segment is primarily the responsibility of DISA.
  • The deployed warfighter, mobile users, and associated Combatant Commander telecommunications infrastructures supporting the Joint Task Force (JTF) and/or Coalition Task Force (CTF). The deployed warfighter and associated Combatant Commander telecommunications infrastructure is primarily the responsibility of the individual Services.[2]

The DISN provides the following multiple networking services:

  • Global Content Delivery System (GCDS)

If you use the Defense Information System Network (DISN) for anything - to download the latest security patches, check webmail on Army Knowledge Online(AKO), view information on the AKO//Navy Knowledge Online (NKO)/Global Combat Support System – Air Force (GCSS-AF) portals, or analyze geospatial data dynamically on multiple National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) systems – you've leveraged the Global Content Delivery Service (GCDS) without even realizing it. GCDS leverages commercial Internet technology to accelerate and secure DOD web content and applications across the Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet) and Secure Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) 24x7. GCDS’ global platform of hundreds of specially-equipped servers helps the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN) withstand the crush of daily requests for rich, dynamic, and interactive content, transactions, and applications. When delivering on these requests, GCDS detects and avoids DODIN-related problem spots and vulnerabilities to ensure mission critical software downloads flawlessly, and applications perform reliably. The same platform also secures critical applications using its Web Application Firewall, allowing it to inspect web requests and detect application attacks before an organization’s web server and the data center is exposed to a possible threat. Furthermore, GCDS provides customers and security response teams with vital information that can be used to detect and block anomalous and potentially malicious attacks. Overall, GCDS provides the best user experience possible by not only increasing performance and availability anytime, anywhere for the warfighter, but also enhancing the security posture of an organization’s data center to ensure customer’s data is secured 24x7.

  • Data Services

Sensitive but Unclassified (NIPRnet)

Secret Data Services (SIPRnet)


  • Organizational Messaging

The Organizational Messaging Service provides a range of assured services to the customer community that includes the military services, DoD agencies, Combatant Commands (COCOMs), non-DoD U.S. government activities and the Intelligence Community (IC). These services include the ability to exchange official information between military organizations and to support interoperability with allied nations, non-DoD activities and the IC operating in both the strategic/fixed-base and the tactical/deployed environments. Organizational Messaging supports the assured secure delivery of organizational messages within strict service parameters. This includes delivery times of three minutes or less for high precedence (flash and above) messages across the DISA-provided infrastructure. Additionally, information confidentiality and integrity are guaranteed through the use of NSA-approved Fortezza-based encryption and signature between the Automated Message Handling Systems (AMHSs) operated/maintained by the Services/agencies/COCOMs.

  • Satellite

Commercial Satellite (COMSATCOM) Distributed Tactical Communications System (DTCS) International Maritime Satellite (INMARSAT) Joint Internet Protocol Modem (JIPM)

  • Transport

Dedicated service is a private-line-transport service that provides point-to-point connectivity to mission partner locations. DISA mission partners require dedicated point-to-point layer 1 and layer 2 circuits because of the inherent simplicity and security. To satisfy this demand, Dedicated services are currently offered and are available in a variety of bit-rates and interfaces.

  • Voice

Multilevel Secure Voice (DRSN) SBU Voice (VoIP and DSN) TS/SCI Voice (JWICS) Voice ISP-PSTN Voice over Secure IP (VoSIP) Enterprise Classified Voice over Internet Protocol (ECVoIP) Enterprise Voice over Internet Protocol (EVoIP)

The technical core of the DISN is provided by the capabilities built by DISA from 2002-2006 called the Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE). This program remains to this day the core of the services provided by DISA to serve the United States. As one of few on time, within budget, to required performance standard DoD ACAT 1AM programs, GIG-BE shows how a government integrated, contractor assisted acquisition can achieve transformational results. The $877 million program was the largest DoD information technology transport structure ever built. GIG-BE created a ubiquitous "bandwidth-available" environment to improve national security intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, information assurance, and command and control at locations worldwide. After extensive component integration and operational testing, implementation began in early 2004 and extended through 2005. GIG-BE achieved initial operational capability (IOC) at six sites Sept. 30, 2004. On Dec. 20, 2005, the GIG-BE program achieved the milestone of full operational capability at all of the almost 100 Joint Staff approved sites.[3]


As defined in CJCSI 6211.02C,Defense Information System Network (DISN) Policy and Responsibilities, 9 July 2008, end-to-end is defined as the fusion of requisite components to deliver a defined capability. For the GIG, this implies components from the user access and display devices and sensors to the various levels of networking and processing, associated applications, and related transport and management services. For DISN services, end-to-end encompasses service user to service user (e.g., PC-to-PC, phone-to-phone).[4]

See also[edit]