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Army pushes enterprise IT toward the cloud

To build “the foundational weapons platform for the entire force,” the Army's IT infrastructure cloud migration will require collaboration and cooperation among its facilities and among its vendors.

An Enterprise IT as a Service initiative (EITaaS) will assess the feasibility of using commercial solutions for data transport, end-user device provision and cloud services. The pilot will also consider whether private-sector IT infrastructure investments, operations and best practices will work for the Army and support the investments the service has made in its network.

The Army's challenge is that its current level of investment cannot meet the its evolving warfighting requirements for multidomain operations by 2028. The Army has 288 bases and other facilities around the world, and each has unique hardware configurations, data strategies, and application architectures. Increasingly, management and the procurement of new services, hardware and software is not effective and too expensive, the Army said in its solicitation documents.

The Army is complaining that its data and applications reside across government, tactical, commercial and hybrid cloud capabilities and “not in collaborative environments.”

The draft statement of work implies that the Army is looking at an eventual multiple award contract, but it states that “service providers(s) must collaborate to ensure seamless interoperability between all lines of effort.” Those lines include network as a service, end-user services and compute and store.

In its recently released answers to industry questions, the Army puts the onus on industry partners to describe what they see as the issue. Respondents to the RFI must demonstrate their understanding of the problem and the solution.

The Army’s effort is just the latest example of the government’s desire to move away from in-house IT solutions and more towards a commercial cloud model. DOD as a whole wants to do this with the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure and Defense Enterprise Office Solution. The intelligence community has launched its Cloud Computing Enterprise initiative as well.

The commercial cloud is the backbone of the government’s future IT infrastructure. The Army already has some individual commercial cloud implementations along with all of its homegrown infrastructure. EITaas is an effort to move deeper into a commercial cloud while leveraging the investments the Army already has in place.

This article was first posted on Washington Technology, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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