A cloud service offers flexible, fast, right-sized and cost-effective on-demand service with broad network access without the large upfront investment and ongoing maintenance cost of hardware ownership. While the private sector has been quick to adopt and move to cloud services, the transition has been slow at Department of Defense (DoD). With military's legacy information technology/operational technology (IT/OT) assets spread out across the country and with each individual base often having its own computing structure, the cloud service adoption across agencies has not been smooth or uniform so far. While some agencies are leading in the adoption of cloud services, others are caught-up in concerns about cybersecurity and disagreements around deployment models and are yet to adopt.

Acknowledging the critical need for DoD to adopt cloud computing technologies to maintain military's technological advantage, DoD established a new steering group, the Cloud Executive Steering Group (CESG), to develop and execute a strategy to accelerate the adoption of cloud architectures and cloud services with a focus on commercial solutions.

Per the memo released by the Deputy Secretary of Defense in November 2017, the cloud adoption initiative will occur in two phases. Phase One will use a tailored acquisition process to acquire a modern enterprise cloud services solution that can support Unclassified, Secret, and Top Secret requirements. The cloud services contract will include in-depth technical analysis of the current environment, the necessary cloud migration support, change management and training. Phase Two will focus on migration of the initial tranche of systems and applications. In Phase Two, CESG will transition select DoD components or agencies to the acquired cloud solution and operationalize its mission using security, software and machine learning capabilities that cloud technology provides.

In addition, the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide outlines the security requirements and standards for DoD to procure commercial cloud services while still ensuring security. It provides guidance to DoD Mission Owners, Authorizing Officials, and others in planning and authorizing the use of cloud services.

With smart buildings and distributed energy resources on the rise at DoD installations, cloud computing services enables efficient and effective use of an increasing amount of facility-related data.  Among other benefits, cloud applications offer advanced capability in facility and energy asset operations and can improve access to and use of data to make informed decisions.  ESTCP hosted a webinar on cloud computing services and applications for DoD on March 22, 2018. You can find the archived version of the webinar and its associated presentation material on the SERDP and ESTCP website.

Created by Sam Johnston