The General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service today issued a request for information to industry for a Department of Defense-wide cloud computing initiative.
This initiative will affect the approximately 3.2 million people in the DOD who rely on computers, tactical radios and other internet-enabled devices that are currently “stovepiped enterprises,” Dana Deasy, DOD’s chief information officer, said today at a Pentagon press briefing.
By stovepipe, Deasy meant that each service has its own networks and data centers that provide inefficient information technology solutions.
With cloud computing, those networks and data centers would be consolidated and remote servers would store, manage and process all of the data across the DOD in a much more efficient manner.
For example, it now takes too long to push out software patches that fix bugs and other vulnerabilities that can infect computers and devices, he said, as well as getting the latest versions of software.
“DEOS will give us instant access to those tools and that’s a tremendous value,” Deasy said, referring the Defense Enterprise Office Solution, which is what DOD has named its future cloud.
In other words, cybersecurity is what DEOS will provide to warfighters, allowing them to focus on their mission instead of worrying about network reliability, he added.
In addition to cybersecurity, cloud computing will enable the DOD to take advantage of the latest innovations that information technology industry can provide, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, Deasy said. That should allow the warfighter to be more efficient and creative.
Deasy noted that DEOS will consolidate all of DOD’s networks, including its secret and tactical ones.
Essye B. Miller, principal deputy, DOD chief information officer, said that the financial models predict that over an 11-year period, the cost for DEOS will be about $8 billion. That’s a $1 billion savings over what the costs would be for the current disparate networks for that time period.
Miller said this first request for information is for DEOS capability Set 1, which includes enterprise hardware, software licenses and deployment and sustainment services. Two more capability sets will follow and will include audio, video, email, content management, records management and an office productivity suite.
The next step after today’s request for information is to host several industry days in December to solicit feedback from potential vendors who are interested in creating and hosting the cloud for DOD, said Emily W. Murphy, administrator of GSA.
By next summer, GSA/DOD plans to issue a request for proposal to industry, with an award to follow shortly thereafter, she said, adding that the timeline for when DEOS actually rolls out departmentwide would depend on what is learned from the request for information and industry days, regarding capability and time it takes to implement the initiative and close out all current network contracts.