In the coming weeks, four vendors awarded on the Department of Defense’s enterprise cloud contract will have the opportunity to bid on offerings at the secret classification level, a critical step forward, according to a top Pentagon IT official.
The Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) was awarded in December to Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle heralding a new era in the DOD for enterprise cloud following the aborted Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure effort.
Each of those vendors will compete for task orders on the contract. The first batch of task orders are in the “pipeline” and getting closer to being awarded, Sharon Woods, director of DISA’s Hosting and Compute Center, said in a webcast hosted by Defense One on Tuesday.
But, in the coming weeks, there will be secret-level offerings, which is “really important because that’s where the warfighter operates and that’s a really key capability,” she said.
Most operations occur at the secret level, and so this is where the majority of the department will see benefit from JWCC.
While the services have all sought their own cloud capabilities seperate from JWCC, Woods said DISA wants JWCC to be a potential choice for them as they continue their efforts.
“We’re working with the services, though, to say, ‘Hey, can we fuel their cloud efforts with just the JWCC contract offerings?’” Woods added. “Separate from that, they’re creating their own environments, their own production environments, they’re layering on DevSecOps and tactical edge capabilities and a number of things. There’s nothing about JWCC that stops them from doing it. It’s just a choice for them of what contract are they leveraging in order to consume the underlying commercial cloud capability itself.”
This unification of effort will begin to “open up doors” for the DOD’s new concept for fighting — known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) — as the U.S. military aims to better connect its networks, sensors and shooters.
“It starts opening up doors on what does JADC2 look like globally, how do we move applications and data around, how do we achieve the interoperability, how do we leverage things like APIs and data portability and all of the things that we talk about to achieve that interconnected web of all of our applications and data,” Woods said. “I think using JWCC as a foundational contract starts moving towards that unification.”
JADC2 calls for getting the right data from the right system to the right place, to help military personnel make more informed decisions.
The JWCC program is slated to begin bids for top secret capabilities early this summer. Woods noted this is especially significant because the DOD does not currently have an enterprise top secret cloud environment. While one exists within the intelligence community, which parts of the DOD can use, the entire department isn’t able to access that.
“That is one of those capability gaps that JWCC is meeting,” Woods said.