After his recent trip to the West Coast to check out how cloud tech companies are fending off cybersecurity attacks, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis plans to increase the use of cloud computing at Department of Defense, according to a report.
Bloomberg Government reported Wednesday that the DoD has decided that developing and maintaining cutting-edge technology infrastructure is as important to the defense of the U.S. as any fancy weapons systems. The move follows a visit by Mattis to Amazon’s headquarters in August as part of a tour of technology companies and military installations where they discussed ways to “further expand initiatives designed to accelerate fielding capabilities to the warfighter,” the Pentagon said at the time.
Because nothing says government-in-action like a committee, the DoD is forming a committee called the Cloud Executive Steering Group to evaluate potential cloud computing services and help implement the best options within the sprawling bureaucracy needed to support the 1.3 million soldiers and 742,000 civilian employees who work for the agency. The idea is “to promote risk-taking, provide the latest technologies to warfighters, and accelerate IT procurement and development,” according to Bloomberg.
Other parts of the federal government have been embracing cloud computing as a time-and-money-saving strategy for several years, and Amazon Web Services opened up a special isolated GovCloud region on the West Coast back in 2011. It’s also planning to open a second GovCloud location on the East Coast next year, and Microsoft Azure now operates six separate regions for government cloud customers.
Both cloud leaders already count the DoD as a customer, but it sounds like the Pentagon is gearing up for a much broader push. AWS also won a deal to build a private cloud computing installation for the Central Intelligence Agency back in 2013, which seems to have worked out pretty well for everyone involved; the CIO of the CIA called it “the best decision we’ve ever made.”