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Army official teases updated cloud plan, expected later this year

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WASHINGTON: The director of the Army’s cloud office said the service’s updated cloud plan will be made publicly available later this fiscal year as the service pushes to update it digital operations at home and in the field.

“What you’re going to see is a greater level of detail and maturity for not just leveraging commercial cloud computing, but really how that starts to extend into our on-premise locations, how this starts to extend into our tactical locations and how we start to kind of poke at some of the mission-enabling capabilities of how the Army operates, enabled by cloud computing,” Paul Puckett, director of the Army’s Enterprise Cloud Management Office, said Tuesday at an Amazon Web Services conference.

Puckett said the plan is currently being reviewed but did not offer a specific deadline for when it will be released, though he alluded to how the release of the service’s 2020 cloud plan was pushed back from January to May.

“If it doesn’t happen by the end of this fiscal year, someone will probably chat with me about that,” he said. “So you’ll see it at the very least [by] September or before.”

He added the service is focusing on leveraging commercial cloud services and extending the Army network with the Unified Network Plan.

“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] s doing where we can start to have more on-demand cloud infrastructure in on-premise locations, both in strategic locations CONUS as well as OCONUS,” Puckett said.

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“So I see commercial revenue, our use of it growing, but I also see some kind of persistent use case for on-premise that really needs to be teased out… It’s not just the lift and shift from a data center construct to an on-premise cloud construct, but truly how that becomes seen as a strategic asset and greater global architecture of computing is really important.”

In January, Army Chief Information Officer Raj Iyer said the service was “well on its way” toward implementing its first cloud outside of the US in the Indo-Pacific, a move that would allow the Army to integrate cloud services into all aspects of experimentation in the region. The Army’s plan is to deliver tactical cloud capabilities to its Multi-Domain Task Forces in the Indo-Pacific region and at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state this year.

Iyer told the audience at an AFCEA Northern Virginia Army IT Day event that the service is taking a data-centered approach to migrating applications to the cloud, where moving applications to the cloud isn’t the end goal, but rather the service needs to make sure its able to “harvest” the data in applications and systems.

“So it’s not just the traditional ways of pulling data,” Iyer said. “It’s now getting to an API-driven architecture to build a Command Post Computing Environment of the future… We are now actively working with units where we are allowing them to now experiment mission threats and operational scenarios using the capacity in the cloud and on the platforms we’ve established.”

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