The Defense Department's new top-to-bottom cloud strategy is intended to lead to a DoD-wide environment and leverage a range of commercial services, as well. Said department CIO Teresa M. Takai:

The DoD Cloud Computing Strategy introduces an approach to move the department from the current state of a duplicative, cumbersome, and costly set of application silos to an end state which is an agile, secure, and cost effective service environment that can rapidly respond to changing mission needs

Behind all those buzzwords are four major steps:

  • To foster the adoption of cloud computing, the DoD will launch an outreach and awareness campaign and urge a "cultural shift" away from disparate departments and agencies toward a "seamless, coordinated, unified and integrated data-centric enterprise information environment."
  • To become more streamlined, the DoD will embark on major data center consolidation.
  • After DoD agencies and the military services have consolidated data centers and network infrastructure, the remaining "core" data centers will become the foundation on which the enterprise cloud environment will be built.
  • The DoD will deliver cloud services as well as external services, including commercial options, as brokered by the Defense Information Systems Agency. All DoD      components will be required to obtain cloud services under DISA's auspices unless they receive a waiver from Takai's office. DISA will be responsible for "making it easier, safer and more productive to navigate, integrate, consume, extend, and maintain," cloud services at the DoD.

This spurt of activity is in response to the 2012 Defense Authorization Act, which among other things directed the Pentagon to implement an official cloud strategy. Now they have it, technology contractors who work in the arena -- including Accenture, Carnegie-Mellon University, CSC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, MIT, Motorola, Perot Systems, Tyco and Verizon, among many others -- will have to figure out how they’ll be able to plug into this very different vision of the future.

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