A prominent government technology trade group sent a letter to Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan March 21 urging the Department of Defense to accelerate its acquisition of cloud-computing services by removing some regulatory barriers for cloud technologies at Defense Department agencies.

The letter from the Professional Services Council (PSC) offers six recommendations for the Defense Department to alleviate regulatory barriers to cloud adoption, including leveraging new funding flexibility provided by the Modernizing Government Technology Act and updating cybersecurity regulations to facilitate the military’s transition to cloud-based technologies.

“Cloud computing provides a powerful platform to deliver new tools to the war fighter and improve national defense,” PSC Executive Vice President and Counsel Alan Chvotkin said in the letter. “Yet, significant policy and regulatory barriers still stand in the way of adopting cloud-based technologies. These barriers impede DoD’s ability to move at the ‘speed of relevancy’ to the war fighter.”

The PSC represents over 400 companies that contract services to the federal government, including many technology providers. Their letter was issued as the Pentagon was seeking feedback on its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program, which could potentially award a single multibillion-dollar 10-year contract to industry for cloud-computing services across the Department of Defense.

The JEDI contract has been controversial almost since it was announced. Many industry leaders argue that the broad scope of the single contract leaves only a handful of companies capable of meeting the requirements. According to a post on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps.gov) website, the Pentagon received 1,089 comments from 46 vendors, two associations and three government agencies in response to a first draft request for proposal for the JEDI contract, which was released on March 7.

The Jedi Cloud team said it will respond to all questions and comments and release an updated draft of the request for proposal the week of April 9. A final solicitation is scheduled to be released in early May 2018.