Army official predicts ‘much more rapid movement’ to the cloud over the next year

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TECHNET AUGUSTA 2022 — Expect to see noticeable, swift movement over the next year from the Army when it comes to migrating to the cloud, the service’s deputy chief of staff for command, control, communications and computers (G-6) said today. 

“You will see a much more rapid movement to the cloud over the next year,” Lt. Gen. John Morrison told reporters at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta 2022 conference. “That foundation has now been set. We are putting the requisite capabilities into the hands of our operational formation so they can understand the applications that now need to move to the cloud and we are aligning the requisite combat power to assist in that migration. It is going to be much faster.”

The G-6 is working closely with Raj Iyer, the Army’s chief information officer, on “characterizing” some of the legacy data centers the service wants to eventually shut down that are no longer needed.

“We’ve learned very quickly [that] it’s not about the data center. It’s about the applications and the data that’s in the data center,” Morrison said. “What is cloud ready, what is not cloud ready, etcetera. And that’s sort of been where we’ve gotten a little pitchy at times. And so we set up a mechanism where we’re going to be able to go in and essentially, in an automated fashion, audit data centers, understand exactly what’s there.”

This will allow the service to see what’s cloud-ready and what isn’t, and that analysis in turn will allow the service to move “much more faster, efficiently and effectively” in its cloud efforts, he added.

The Army’s own cloud efforts are aligned to the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, the Defense Department’s new enterprise cloud effort valued at up to $9 billion. Morrison said the service is “well nested” with the DoD CIO’s efforts.

RELATED: Pentagon Delays JWCC Cloud Competition, Now Valued At $9 Billion

Next year has been previously positioned by service leaders as a potentially transformational one for the service’s digital backbone. 

Iyer has previously stated that 2023 will be the service’s “year of inflection” for digital transformation, which will include furthering its cloud migration journey. The service is also expected to release an updated cloud plan sometime this year.

And on May 27, Army Enterprise Cloud Management Office Director Paul Puckett predicted that soon “I think what you’re also going to see is really a hybrid of where we can make appropriate investments on-premise in our…data centers that complements the greater initiatives of the DoD around what DISA [Defense Information Systems Agency] is doing where we can start to have more on-demand cloud infrastructure on-premise locations, both in strategic locations CONUS as well as OCONUS.”

Meanwhile, a new Army Risk Management Council is in the final stages of staffing, Morrison said. The council, which will be chaired by the Army’s G-3 and Iyer, is a part of the service’s efforts to realign how it approaches the duties of authorizing officials who provide oversight through the updated cyber risk management framework.

Morrison first mentioned the council in April and back then said it would be approved “in the next month or so.” The council will make decisions on things like what risk is acceptable or whether to apply the appropriate resources — time, money or people — to buy down that risk. 

Though the council hasn’t been formally stood up yet, Morrison said it hasn’t stopped the Army from “starting to evaluate cybersecurity risk in a completely different fashion.” 

“And that is something that, regardless of the council, we had to start doing,” he said. “How do we sit there and take a look at a system that is getting ready to come on to the network and then assess that risk and make a very smart threat-informed decision of is it ready or not? And, just as important, do we have the appropriate defensive overwatch over the top of it?”

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