With the Department of Defense’s Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability officially online, the department’s chief information officer is pushing all organizations to use it for their cloud purchasing needs going forward.
The “Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Components, and Defense Agencies and Field Activities (DAFAs) will use the [Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability] contract vehicle for all available offerings to procure future enterprise cloud computing capabilities and services,” states a memo from the DOD CIO dated July 31, 2023, but released publicly Aug. 2. “All cloud capabilities and services currently under contract in OSD Components and DAFAs will transition to the JWCC vehicle upon expiration of their current period of performance. OSD Components and DAFAs may utilize on-premises cloud offerings (e.g., Stratus), where applicable.”
JWCC, awarded in December, is the DOD’s highly anticipated $9 billion enterprise cloud effort that replaced the maligned Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program. Google, Oracle, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft were all awarded under the contract and will each compete for task orders. The contract vehicle was developed to streamline cloud buying for DOD and its components at all classification levels.
“The JWCC contract vehicle provides the DoD an unprecedented ability to directly acquire commercial capabilities and services at three classification levels (Unclassified, Secret, Top Secret, and from strategic and operational headquarters to the tactical edge,” the memo states. “The JWCC is not a cloud management or hosting environment, but rather a key vehicle in the Department’s technology arsenal for the acquisition of services for current and future DoD Component managed and controlled cloud environments.”
Between the period JEDI was canceled and JWCC was in source selection, many of the services were charting their own cloud course, not necessarily waiting for JWCC to be awarded.
Now, however, the DOD wants components to turn to this vehicle, particularly at higher classification levels and for cloud services leveraged overseas.
“[A]ll DoD Components, to include Military Departments (MILDEPs) and Combatant Commands (CCMDs), will leverage the JWCC contract vehicle for all available offerings for any new cloud computing capabilities and services at the Secret (Impact Level 6) or Top Secret, including all tactical edge and Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS) cloud computing capabilities and services,” the memo states.
The memo was sure to note that services and components can still rely on other methods to procure capabilities that were not listed, such as Infrastructure as a Service. Moreover, the memo is not “mandating” JWCC for all cloud capabilities, but rather, encouraging its use for needs “especially as trends from OSD Component and DAFA-use provide additional data points in the coming year on price competitiveness and mission efficacy.”
DOD CIO John Sherman has said recently that he wants to see an acceleration of JWCC capabilities getting into the field.
“I want to keep moving even more so than we are on JWCC … I am so excited about what JWCC brings from [outside the continental U.S.] and the edge,” Sherman said in May. “Conflict with China is neither inevitable nor desirable and I want to emphasize that. [But] because we will look at what our forces might have to do inside a second island chain in the western Pacific as a Marine littoral regiment and that stand-in force … they [have] got to be able to have capabilities, compute, transport and so on, that works and is going to be there for them. That’s what JWCC is going to help bring to them.”