WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army’s cloud-computing experts are increasingly chatting with colleagues in the Air Force and Navy, as the Department of Defense craves access to business and battlefield data at even the most remote locations.

The exchange across services, about disparate databases and systems, best practices and integration, are at this point “really maturing,” according to Gregg Judge, the acting director of the Army’s Enterprise Cloud Management Agency, or ECMA.

“We are absolutely engaged with them. We meet with Air Force a lot. We’re meeting more and more with Navy and, obviously, our DOD partners,” Judge said at a Jan. 13 event hosted by C4ISRNET. “We’ve shared a lot of lessons learned with each other. We talk about planning, more and more, with our sister services.”

The ECMA, a relatively new organization, oversees the Army’s cloud efforts. Its focuses include zero-trust cybersecurity, modern software development and improved data fluency.

The growing dialogues between the Army, Air Force and Navy come as the Defense Department attempts to realize Joint All-Domain Command and Control, a vision of rapid and accurate information-sharing across land, air, sea, space and cyber.

Cloud is the keystone to such an ambitious construct, according to Judge, who foresees a future of “pretty tight integration with our Navy and Air Force counterparts and their cloud infrastructures.” The Army considers cloud migration and widespread, secure use foundational to the broader modernization of its networks, computers and collaboration.

“The right data at the point of need can actually generate the right type of effects that we want to execute militarily,” Judge said, adding that the cloud, generally, is “how we’re going to get data to wherever it is needed, and I’ll leave it at that.”

The Army is expected to spend some $290 million on cloud uptake in the coming months, amid a push service officials have dubbed the “year of action.” The figure is a slice of the service’s $16.6 billion cyber-and-IT request for fiscal 2023, itself a portion of its larger $178 billion budget blueprint.

The Army has already shifted hundreds of applications and systems to the cloud; a potential $1 billion arrangement, known as Enterprise Application Migration and Modernization, or EAMM, is expected to continue the clip. EAMM is slated to roll out in the second or third quarter.

“The Army is all-in on cloud computing, and you will see more and more capabilities delivered to the field, both from the enterprise as well as the tactical arena going forward,” said Judge, who worked in private industry for more than a decade. “In 2018, I would hear a lot more, ‘Well, do we need the cloud? What is the cloud?’ In 2021, 2022, 2023, it is, ‘How do I get to the cloud faster?’”

Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin 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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