McLEAN, Va. — The U.S. Army plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in cloud migration and uptake in the next year or so, amid a push by the military’s largest service to be digital-first and access data anytime, anywhere.

Roughly $290 million will be spent over the coming months, Army Under Secretary Gabe Camarillo said at the Army IT Day conference, hosted by the Northern Virginia chapter of the communications- and electronics-focused group AFCEA.

Camarillo described the expenditure as an indicator of “how seriously” the service “is taking on this mission,” adding that “2023 is very much, in my mind, a year of acceleration.”

The Army has migrated hundreds of legacy applications to the cloud. Other services — such as the Air Force, with its Cloud One and Cloud One Next initiatives — are making similar moves.

The Army in October announced the multi-award, multi-vendor Enterprise Application Migration and Modernization deal, or EAMM, which is meant to make it easier and cheaper to advance comprehensive cloud goals, including rapid software development, data-driven decision-making and zero-trust cybersecurity.

The $1 billion EAMM contract, described by Army Chief Information Officer Raj Iyer as “the easy button,” is expected to coexist with the Pentagon’s Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, a separate $9 billion arrangement in which Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle are competing to provide unprecedented connectivity across unclassified, secret and top-secret designations.

“JWCC will be an avenue for the [Department of Defense] to actually procure, compute and store directly from the cloud service providers, like the Amazons and the Googles of the world,” Iyer said in October. “What EAMM does is it’s the vehicle to actually modernize your application, get it to be cloud native and then migrate to the cloud, right? You’re going to need both.”

The Army requested $16.6 billion in cyber and information technology funding for fiscal 2023, a little more than 9% of the service’s $178 billion blueprint. The bulk of the IT ask, roughly $9.8 billion, was flagged for the Army network, a modernization priority spearheaded by the Network Cross-Functional Team and the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, among others.

Camarillo on Thursday told C4ISRNET it is “premature” to project where Army cloud funding will land in 2024 or 2025, as budget work is ongoing. But key to success, he said, is a steady, reliable stream of resources, including for the Enterprise Cloud Management Agency, an entity that oversees the service’s cloud efforts.

“As we all know, over the last year,” Camarillo said, “the digital tools that accompany our capabilities — software, infrastructure on the digital side, data and security — are all going to be absolutely critical to our ability to win the next conflict.”

Colin Demarest was a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covered military networks, cyber and IT. Colin had previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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