WASHINGTON — The general tasked with delivering the Pentagon’s future battlefield network said that the new joint war-fighting concept needs an enterprise cloud to provide wide accessibility.
A cloud for use across the DoD would extend the access that a basic cloud environment provides, which will be important for Joint All-Domain Command and Control, Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, chief information officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday at the C4ISRNET Conference.
“If you think about the challenge we have in AI, in amalgamating data and sharing data, what it means to take processing and move that processing requirement to the tactical edge, without a cloud none of this” is possible, Crall said at the conference.
The trouble is that a pending court case has delayed for more than a year the Pentagon’s landmark contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud, worth up to $10 billion over 10 years.
Delivering the ability to process data at the tactical edge and develop artificial intelligence tools has been the Pentagon’s core justification for JEDI since the project’s outset. The contract went to Microsoft in October 2019, but a court challenge by Amazon Web Services prevents the DoD and Microsoft from building the JEDI cloud. Cloud computing would also help the joint force develop its DevSecOps environment to build and deliver software to war fighters faster.
No matter what happens with the JEDI cloud, the Pentagon has stressed that it needs an enterprise cloud computing capability. And the department must make sure it is set up to accommodate and take advantage of an enterprise cloud once it’s available.
“Just because you’ve established the environment doesn’t mean you have the sharing agreements and doesn’t necessarily mean you have the security apparatus in place to ensure the data is safe,” Crall said. “So we’ve got we’ve got a lot of homework to do outside of just the establishment of this, and the clouds got to be a cloud built for DoD.”
JADC2′s unique requirements mean that the department will have specific cloud requirements for an enterprise cloud.
“Not all clouds function the same. Can they handle disconnected operations? How do they function when their [connection is] reestablished? There are certain cloud designs that do not lend itself to our war fighter, so we have to be we are very particular about those requirements that go into it.”
Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.