DOD CIO takes control of cloud initiatives

Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy's strategy aims to gradually consolidate networks, data centers and cloud efforts, allowing for better infrastructure security and reliability, while saving money.

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The Defense Department announced that CIO Dana Deasy has taken over the department's cloud initiatives starting June 22. But the future of the department's major warfighting cloud initiative is still opaque.

According to a June 25 news release announcing the change, Deasy's new cloud initiative is part of a larger IT strategy that aims to "gradually consolidate its disparate networks, data centers and cloud efforts to manage them at the enterprise level," allowing for better infrastructure security and reliability, while saving money.

"Right now one of the things we have to do is rationalize the thousands of networks, data centers and infrastructure and come up with the right way forward for the department. We have many providers currently and this is a relatively new thing, to rationalize what we're doing for cloud," DOD CIO Principal Cybersecurity Director Edward Brindley told reporters following a panel on mission innovation at Defense One's Tech Summit June 26.

Brindley said that while he wasn't allowed to talk about the ongoing cloud acquisition project JEDI (short for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure), he said the latest change would hopefully "rationalize" the current multiple-provider environment.

"We have to think about refactoring, does it require us to rethink how we're doing this – it's that simple. And that's part of what Mr. Deasy will be doing."

There are two multibillion cloud acquisitions taking shape at DOD. JEDI, which is aimed at creating a centralized cloud and data environment for warfighting activities, and the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions acquisition being led by the Defense Information Systems Agency, which focuses on productivity, collaboration and back office systems.

In the latest defense funding bills working through Congress, lawmakers have required access to acquisition strategies covering both programs.

DOD was expected to submit a final request for proposal for JEDI in May but recently said it was taking its time on the proposal and still anticipating a contract award later this year.

Defense Digital Service's director, Chris Lynch -- the leader of the JEDI effort -- deflected when asked about the change's impact to JEDI, instead recommending people see the new Star Wars film, "Solo."

The Pentagon press office did not respond to an emailed request from FCW.

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