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Defense Health Agency IT Experts Recognized for Cost Savings, Cyber Security, Improved Efficiencies

Image of Defense Health Agency IT Experts Recognized for Cost Savings, Cyber Security, Improved Efficiencies. The Defense Health Agency is on the cutting edge of information technology related to health. (Photo Shutterstock/DBM31)

Defense Health Agency information technology leaders are the recipients of prestigious awards for 2023 from the Federal 100 and GovCIO. Their leadership is saving DHA money, strengthening cybersecurity, and providing improved services and cost efficiencies across the Military Health System and its 9.5 million beneficiaries.

The Fed 100 is recognized as the most prestigious award for the federal IT community and is sponsored by GovExec, the top sales and marketing intelligence company for government leaders and contractors. The GovCIO awards federal IT top and rising leaders with its Flywheel awards, named for a critical component in increasing a machine’s momentum.

Giljum and the GovCIO ‘Cyber Defender’ Award

Anthony T. Giljum II, serves as the director of DHA’s Engineering and Technology Transformation. In February 2024, he received the 2023 “Cyber Defender” Flywheel award from GovCIO.

Giljum “integrates innovative technology capabilities that align with federal and departmental strategies—like Zero Trust and Comply to Connect—with the objective of identifying opportunities to field more cost effective, modernized ‘best fit’ solutions that enhance the capability of the Department of Defense, the armed services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Pat Flanders, DHA’s program executive officer for medical systems and chief information officer.

Giljum drove the DHA Zero Trust effort. “Zero Trust requires designing a consolidated and more secure architecture without impeding operations or compromising security,” Giljum explained, adding, “The overarching goal of Zero Trust is to prevent unauthorized access to data and services and make access control enforcement as granular as possible.” This differs from the previous “Trust but Verify” principle—while it is important to trust or have confidence in a secure system, it is equally essential to verify or confirm the truth or accuracy.

DOD’s Comply to Connect is a comprehensive cybersecurity tools and technologies framework to increase efficiency across the agency’s current and emerging operational environments.

Giljum’s “core operating principle is that the improvements made to the enterprise architecture must reduce complexity and cost while improving services and security,” Flanders said. “Tony unflinchingly scrutinizes any potential solutions to determine the specific new capabilities and benefits it would bring to the enterprise, the value of the cost offset it could yield, which could be used to support other improvements, and how the solution would improve security and the patient or provider user experience.”

In 2023, Giljum also led DHA’s interagency pilot at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Illinois, to identify and develop a solution for DOD/VA collaboration across the agencies’ Office 365 tenants, who have different security postures and different requirements.

The pilot’s objective “was to identify a solution set for the privacy and security of protected health information being exchanged in support of joint operations,” Giljum said. DHA completed the waved rollout by the end of 2023 for all 900 personnel at the center.

Rodriguez and the Fed 100

Alvaro Rodriguez serves as the program manager for the DHA Enterprise Information Technology Services Program Executive Office, Defense Healthcare Management Systems. He will receive a Fed 100 award from GovExec on April 24, 2024.

Rodriguez manages the Geographic Service Providers and Enterprise Information Technology Services Integrator, together worth nearly $5 billion. In 2023, he consolidated six IT contracts worth nearly $300 million into one to improve interoperability across IT services, reduce duplication of tools, and minimize government administrative oversight costs, according to his nomination.

On budget and on time, Rodriguez transitioned 600 staff to the Enterprise Information Technology Services Integrator contract in six months, achieving a 92% capture rate of skilled professionals to minimize transition risk and ensure service continuity, according to his nomination.

He also improved service desk support quality and processes.

Together, these efforts are projected to yield at least $162 million in cost avoidance and savings over a 10-year period.

Rodriguez led a request for proposal for the Geographic Service Providers acquisition—the Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contracts—that includes a strategy to consolidate some 110 decentralized GSP contracts across military hospitals and clinics and other lines of business while providing improved services and cost efficiencies.
He worked with industry and made this acquisition viable as a multiple-award small business set-aside valued at more than $2 billion. That is one of the largest agency-specific small business set-asides within the Department of Defense, according to his nomination.

The 10-year, multiple awards were made in January 2024 and will take up to two years to fully transition.

Rodriguez is being honored for additional qualities of leadership, according to his nomination. “Leadership often relies on him to resolve complex issues for challenged programs,” Flanders said. “Rodriguez also “continuously makes time to mentor staff through a bi-weekly session.” And he is “effective in guiding and supporting others as they navigate their professional journey, to include giving training and education, and providing insights into the organization.”

“Day in and day out, he demonstrates professionalism, integrity, and ethical behavior, and inspires others to do the same through their actions and achievements,” Flanders said.

Career Advice from the Honorees

Giljum and Rodriguez have career advice for colleagues in their ever-growing field.

“Pursue Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification and surround yourself with inquisitive people who are not afraid to think outside the box to identify meaningful solutions that can be achieved while being a good steward of the taxpayer dollars,” Giljum advised.

“Take advantage of opportunities to enhance your knowledge and skill sets, whether it is acquisition training offered via JKO or studying at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy,” Rodriguez said.

“I also think it is important to focus on building and mentoring your team,” he said. “Surrounding yourself with an engaged, knowledgeable team takes energy but drives success and creates depth on the bench that can help the team collectively strike a better work/life balance.”

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Last Updated: April 08, 2024
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