The Army is in the beginning stages of building out its first tactical cloud system for its forces in the Pacific this year.
The system will be the Army’s first hybrid cloud that uses both on-premise data centers and commercial cloud services to operate outside the continental U.S, or OCONUS, the Army’s top IT official Raj Iyer said. The new hybrid capability should increase the Army’s ability to store and process data in the command, a resource that is in high demand across the military as it works to modernize.
“It allows us to integrate cloud into all aspects of experimentation,” Iyer said recently during AFCEA NOVA’s Army IT day.
Army spokesman Bruce Anderson provided more detail on the status of the system, saying Army Pacific is “analyzing information exchange, system, and service requirements to determine the optimal locations for cloud-hosted capabilities.”
The Army plans to run a “series of exercises, experimentations, and basic application analysis” through fiscal 2023 on its journey for getting cloud to the edge in the Pacific, he said.
OCONUS cloud is a new top priority for the Department of Defense after publishing its first strategy to get cloud tech to the “tactical edge” in May. The document, signed by the DOD CIO, calls for DOD to negotiate with foreign partners to get more cloud tech into bases overseas. The strategy highlights the importance of many senior leaders refer to as the “tactical edge” — getting data processed closer to where it is being generated and decisions need to be made to increase the speed of operations.
“We are well on our way to actually implementing the first OCONUS cloud in the Indo-Pacific,” Iyer said.
Despite the Army’s efforts to shutter data centers, it is planning to use them in the hybrid cloud architecture in the Pacific, Iyer said. The Army is “integrating our commercial compute and store in the cloud with our on-premise resources that we have in our data centers,” he explained.
So far no contracts or task orders have been signed with cloud service providers that work with the DOD for this effort, Anderson told FedScoop. The goal is to use cloud to extend the services already available with on-premise data centers in theater and eventually be able to provide a corps-level common operating picture.
“We are currently developing the operational requirements for the cloud … We are also working with commercial service providers to understand how they may be able to meet Army requirements,” Anderson said.