The Department of the Navy is standing up a new Neptune Cloud Management Office to help centralize and streamline the acquisition and delivery of cloud capabilities across the sea services.
A memo formally establishing the organization was signed off in June by Ruth Youngs Lew, the program executive officer for digital and enterprise services. Neptune will be part of PEO Digital.
Within the department, the new cloud management office will have two components: one for the Navy and another for the Marine Corps. The Navy component is expected to start operations “at or around the start of” fiscal 2024, Louis Koplin, leader of the platform application services portfolio at PEO Digital, said in an email to DefenseScoop on Tuesday. The Marine Corps component is already operational.
Neptune is intended to serve as “the single point of entry” for the acquisition and delivery of cloud services across the Department of the Navy and facilitate the “digital transformation to cloud-native and zero-trust enterprise services,” according to Lew’s memo, which was obtained by DefenseScoop.
Notably, the office is expected to play a major role in the department’s accessing the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract vehicle, the Pentagon’s $9 billion enterprise cloud effort that replaced the ill-fated Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program. Google, Oracle, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft were all awarded under the contract last year and will each compete for task orders.
“Neptune cloud management office will guide and assist Marine Corps and Navy mission owners to appropriately leverage JWCC, to eventually include centralized and automated ordering from the cloud portal on the Naval Digital Marketplace,” officials involved in the effort said in a statement to DefenseScoop.
Justin Fanelli, acting chief technology officer of the Navy, told DefenseScoop: “If we do this very right with our new partners and existing strong partnerships within DOD, the best way will also be the easiest way. Our service to our warfighters will be measured by drastically reduced friction and improved mission outcomes.”
Neptune has been tasked with establishing enterprise capabilities in coordination with the sea services’ deputy CIOs, Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/Commander, U.S. 10th Fleet. It is also expected to improve the “customer service experience” for components seeking to consume cloud services, automate repetitive work and eliminate duplicative work, according to Lew’s memo.
The creation of the new office comes as the Defense Department is embracing the cloud as a key component of its IT modernization plans.
Policy guidance signed out in 2020 by the Navy CIO and assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition stated that the Department of the Navy “shall maintain its global strategic advantage by harnessing the power of data and information systems through cloud computing. Cloud computing is the primary approach to transforming how the DON delivers, protects, and manages access to data and applications across all mission areas. Cloud computing … shall be adopted and consumed in such a way as to maximize its inherent characteristics and advantages,”
Per Lew’s memo, the new Neptune office is tasked with maintaining the portfolio of available and authorized cloud service offerings on the Naval Digital Marketplace and managing the department’s consumption across that portfolio via an integrated cloud Financial Operations (FinOps) capability. It will also deliver a cloud solutions “guidebook” that tells people who buy and build information systems how to best employ the Navy’s cloud portfolio.
The organization is expected to “describe, automate, and enhance the customer journey for those seeking to consume cloud services from the DON Cloud Portfolio, following IT service management (ITSM) best practices” for the cloud when it comes to engaging, procuring, provisioning, migrating, operating, defending and decommissioning. It will also establish “additional plans and/or process(es) to execute those Cloud ITSM phases” as necessary, according to Lew’s memo.