Department of Defense on a Cloud Mission?

The Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) newly released Guide based on “Best Practices for DoD Cloud Mission Owners” gives us a hint of a big technological evolution taking place in the federal industry which was developed by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) for the Department of Defense (DoD).

According to Defense officials, moving to the cloud offers cost savings that the Department cannot get via other acquisition avenues. The objective of this mission is not only to deliver a cost efficient, secure and adaptive environment but also to achieve “confidentiality, integrity and availability” of the data. While in theory this sounds perfect, the key element missing in this guide is a way , “to compete a cloud contract under the new acquisition paradigm and how Department of Defense Mission Owners are supposed to select approved cloud providers and compete a contract among them.” The entire guide explains everything about the responsibilities, requirements, and standards but with no reference to specific guidelines, competing contractors should have a difficult time developing the proposals to deliver on the DoD’s needs.

Mr. Terry Halvorsen, DoD Chief Information Officer said, “Cloud computing plays a critical role in the Department’s IT modernization efforts. Our key objective is to deliver a cost efficient, secure enough enterprise environment (the security driven by the data) that can readily adapt to the Department’s mission needs. The Cloud will support the Department’s JIE with a robust IT capability built on an integrated set of Cloud services provided by both commercial providers and DoD Components. We will use a hybrid approach to Cloud that takes advantage of all types of Cloud solutions to get the best combination of mission effectiveness and efficiency. This means in some cases we will use a purely commercial solution, which we have done with Amazon on public facing data, in others we will use a modified private Cloud hosted in commercial solutions, an example could be a shared federal or federal state government Cloud, and for our most protected data a DoD private Cloud that uses best industry practices.”

Keeping the current market situation in mind, a plethora of cloud service providers exists. The prices for cloud services are dropping therein directly affecting the profit margins. In order to mitigate the risk and to leverage profit margins, vendors would need to generate volume. Former Federal CIO; Vivek Kundra, talked about “‘A $20 Billion Shift'” back in 2011″ which talks about how federal government could shave off $20 Billion of its spending by moving systems to cloud. Twenty billion dollars less would shrink the federal IT market to $66 billion per year, using the OMB’s base line estimate of annual IT spending. Sixty-six billion dollars per year raises a big question mark.


Editor’s Note: Idea referred from;


Rossino, Alexander. “Best Practices, Deflation, and Cloud Commoditization at the DoD.”
Deltek. B2G Essentials, 1 Sept. 2015. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.