JUST IN: Army to Pursue New Cloud Computing Initiatives

By Mandy Mayfield

Photo: Defense Dept.

The Army will stand up its cloud program office in the coming months as part of a larger Pentagon cloud-computing strategy, the Army’s chief information officer said March 5.

“You can expect that in the next 90 days," Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford said during a breakfast in Arlington, Virginia, hosted by the Association of the United States Army.

The service has been working on updating its cloud strategy for the first time since 2015, efforts that Crawford says are in line with the one recently released by the Defense Department.

The Pentagon has "multiple disjointed and stovepiped information systems distributed across modern and legacy infrastructure around the globe leading to a litany of problems" that impact the U.S. military's ability to use critical information to make timely decisions, noted the Defense Department's new cloud strategy, which was released in February.

Commercial industry has made major strides in addressing these types of challenges that the department can leverage, the report noted.

Commercial cloud computing is a subscription-based service that provides network-based resources to customers.

"It allows users to store and access data and programs over the internet rather than on a local computer hard drive. It also allows users to access information from anywhere at any time," the report said. "The department must take full advantage of this technology enabler."

The Army plans to release its revised cloud strategy in the next 90 days, Crawford said. It is also slated to award two contracts this fiscal year for services required to sustain the Army’s use of the cloud, he added.

“Our near-term focus is posturing ourselves to leverage the all-purpose and fit-for-purpose cloud hosting capability,” he said.

The initiative is more about “increasing operational effectiveness throughout the force,” and “less about saving money,” he noted.

The Army is also planning to establish at least five “pathfinder" efforts this year. They will be focused on “tactical intelligence data, financial management applications, global force integration systems, logistics and maintenance, and a tactical server infrastructure,” Crawford said. "We really want to focus on getting after those."

In fiscal year 2020, the service intends to pursue more of these types of initiatives to improve readiness, he noted. "Our plan is to establish six to eight pilots at our most critical camps, posts and stations," he said.

The Army hopes to be able to look back years from now and see a noticeable difference in growth capacity for cloud computing, Crawford said.


Topics: Army News, Cyber, Network defense, Land Forces

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