IT and Networks

In line with DoD CIO, Army pushes forward with new cloud policy

In line with broader Defense Department initiatives, the Army expects to soon release a new commercial cloud services provider policy that will outline service-specific acquisition requirements and provide further details about the Army's growing use of the commercial cloud.

"Transitioning to cloud-based solutions and services advances the Army's long-term objective to reduce our ownership, operation and sustainment of hardware and other commoditized information technology," Gary Wang, Army deputy CIO/G-6, wrote in an April 2 blog post. "Procuring these capabilities as services will allow the Army to focus resources more effectively to meet evolving mission needs."at will outline service-specific acquisition requirements and provide further details about the Army's growing use of the commercial cloud.

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The forthcoming policy, expected "in the coming weeks" per Army sources, will accompany the CIO/G-6's new cloud computing strategy. The strategy outlines the service's evolving practices in IT modernization, providing users and potential vendors with a vision of how the Army plans to buy and use commercial IT, particularly cloud.

"The Army is changing its approach to modernizing IT infrastructure by moving to a cloud-based methodology," the strategy states. "This approach emphasizes reducing IT hardware procurements and sustainment in favor of procuring these capabilities as services from cloud service providers."

The strategy notes the Army's intent to implement modernization plans and develop new processes and procedures for maximizing commercial cloud services and IT as approved by DoD leadership. It also references how the new cloud policy will fit in with DoD-wide initiatives, including the Joint Information Environment and overall coalition operations around the world.

"Cloud infrastructure, people and processes will be central to enabling the Joint Information Environment," the strategy states. "The ability to connect to cloud capabilities assures availability, accessibility and security of Army computing and communications resources, authoritative data sources and information from the enterprise to the point of need."

The new Army guidance executes on evolving cloud policies at the Pentagon, where CIO Terry Halvorsen is overhauling the military's employment of commercial technologies, especially cloud. The Army's new policy is a prime example of how the military departments are executing on new guidance from the top.

Halvorsen reiterated the approach at the April 7 C4ISR & Networks conference in Arlington, Virginia.

"We are working within DoD to get better at our partnership opportunities," Halvorsen said of collaboration with industry, adding that he is regularly meeting with leadership from the various defense components to hammer out the path forward. "It has to be a supervised effort. It does need to be [all of] DoD and we have to get more enterprise-like in our behavior. And we are working toward that. There is some cultural change [and] there is some policy change that has to happen."

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