The Department of Defense announced today the release of a cloud computing strategy that will move the department's current network applications from a duplicative, cumbersome, and costly set of application silos to an end state designed to create a more agile, secure, and cost effective service environment that can rapidly respond to changing mission needs. In addition, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has been named as the enterprise cloud service broker to help maintain mission assurance and information interoperability within this new strategy.
For further information:
- DoD Cloud Computing Strategy
- Cloud strategy memo
- Designation of DISA as the enterprise cloud service broker
Of related interest:
GAO was asked to (1) assess the progress selected agencies have made in implementing OMB's "Cloud First" policy and (2) identify challenges they are facing in implementing the policy. To do so, GAO (1) selected seven agencies, analyzed agency documentation, and interviewed agency and OMB officials; and (2) identified, assessed, and categorized common challenges. The agencies were the departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; the General Services Administration; and the Small Business Administration.
GAO recommended should these agencies direct their respective chief information officer (CIOs) to establish estimated costs, performance goals, and plans to retire associated legacy systems for each cloud-based service discussed in this report, as applicable.
Significant highlights of the report include the consideration of the significance of climate change on national security; the greening of the Department of Defense, including efforts to make the military more environmentally friendly, to anticipate and prepare for environmentally driven crises and disasters, and to achieve energy security; and efforts to convert the nontactical vehicle fleet away from gasoline-dependence, and a Navy plan to deploy a carrier strike group running on biofuels and nuclear power by 2016.
For more analysis of what's inside the QDR, please see the following articles:
- Growing Pentagon Focus on Energy and Climate. Andrew C. Revkin. NY Times dOTEarth blog.
- What's inside the Quadrenial Defense Review. Robert Farley. Tapped: the group blog of the American Prospect
All of the strategic defense reviews are available at DoD Strategic Defense reviews including the Quadrenial Defense Review (QDR), Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) and the Space Posture Review (SPR).
Happy anniversary Internet! it was 40 years ago, on December 5th, 1969 that the original 4 node network of ARPANET -- the experimental network built with funding from Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the US Defense Department -- was connected. For more, see the exhibit at the Computer History Museum.
The initial ARPANET consisted of four IMPs. They were installed at:
- UCLA, where Leonard Kleinrock had established a Network Measurement Center (with an SDS Sigma 7 being the first computer attached to it).
- The Stanford Research Institute's Augmentation Research Center, where Douglas Engelbart had created the ground-breaking NLS system, a very important early hypertext system (with the SDS 940 that ran NLS, named 'Genie', being the first host attached).
- UC Santa Barbara (with the Culler-Fried Interactive Mathematics Centre's IBM 360/75, running OS/MVT being the machine attached).
- The University of Utah's Computer Science Department, where Ivan Sutherland had moved (for a DEC PDP-10 running TENEX).
I came across a recently declassified document from October, 2003 called Information Operations Roadmap authored by Donald Rumsfeld from Bryan Alexander's blog. The document is attached.
A friend of mine in the military, who served recently in the â€œEastern Theatreâ€ (Afghanistan/Iraq), told me about a potential personnel crisis for the Army due to its extended mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. My friend said:
"The Army is increasingly turning over duties to civilian contractors, which would normally do routine duties (recruiting, mentoring, military advisers, maintenance, food service, security, etc.). Some even wear the same uniform, although they don't get the same pay, no retirement points, just a civilian job in military uniform. If we counted our civilian hire into military numbers, I suspect the numbers would be approaching previous Desert Storm levels, although at a higher price. Lower pay for the personnel, although higher administrative costs."
What my friend is pointing out may be part of the effects of some of the latest transformation of DoD policy. According to the 2006 issuance of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), Contractors and Civilians are critical to the 21st century warfighting capabilities. The QDR defined the â€œTotal Forceâ€ as â€œActive Component, Reserve Component, civilians and contractorsâ€. This may be nothing new as private companies have often supported military operations in the theatre. But many of us may not be aware that Civilians and Contractors are now factored in as part of our war plans. The Defense Instruction â€œContractor Personnel Authorized to Accompany U.S. Armed Forcesâ€ (Oct 3, 2005) explains the implementation of this policy.
The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) has some interesting resources on this. Check out the training module, "CLC 112: Contractors Accompanying the Force" (recently modified October 16, 2006). It â€œâ€¦addresses the roles and responsibilities of the Commander in planning for the use of contractors authorized to accompany the U.S. armed forces, with a focus on the guidance in DoDI 3020.41, Contractor Personnel Authorized to Accompany the U.S. Armed Forcesâ€.
Also on the DAU site is the paper â€œContractors in the 21st Century "Combat Zoneâ€ by Richard L. Dunn for the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise School of Public Policy, (uploaded to the DAU site on Wednesday, April 27, 2005). This resources is 117 pages and concludes
"The research found there had been a lag in updating policy and doctrine based on lessons learned and that on occasion a â€œbusiness as usualâ€ approach has decreased the efficiency of contracted contingency support. Serious deficiencies in organization and training for contingency contracting in support of joint operations persist. Contracting in a stressful environment has demonstrated the inadequacy of certain government contracting procedures."
As the presence of Civilians and Contractors grows in military operations, especially in support of Iraq missions, how to find out about the policies governing their roles and expectations may become more important. For that, a very rich resource on this topic is the "Contractors on the Battlefield Resource Library" available on the Army Sustainment Command: "The purpose of this site is to accumulate and offer materials helpful to the resolution of legal issues arising from the in-theater use of contractor support to military operations."
What is the â€˜Global Information Gridâ€™, what is â€˜Net Centricityâ€™ (or â€˜Network Centricâ€™), and why is it important to the Department of Defense? A starting point to answer those questions is the DoD CIOâ€™s Strategic Plan, released in October of this year, and The DoD Chief Information Officerâ€™s (John G. Grimes) home page. (I went to the Publications and Articles page to find the things I am sharing, today.) From these two resources you can get at the basics of the DODâ€™s IT transformation -- perhaps the biggest and most ambitious e-Government transformation ever undertaken.
In one sense, the Global Information Grid (or â€œGIGâ€) can be thought of as an organizing concept, an abstraction, enabling the DOD CIO to frame and communicate the departmentâ€™s plans, architecture, and policies for the transformation of its information technology of the future. The GIG consists of everything that DOD IT touches: Capabilities (including weapons systems and programs), Portfolio Management, Governance, Funding and Policy.
A DoD Directive from September 2002 established the Global Information Grid Overarching Policy (available on the DTIC site). That policy statement implements Section 2223 of title 10, United States Code, (b) Section 1401 et seq. of title 40, United States Code, and applies to all DOD components, IT operations, and DoD Acquisitions and procurements of â€œGIGâ€ assets. It contains the formal definition of the GIG as â€œThe globally interconnected, end-to-end set of information capabilities, associated processes, and personnel for collecting, processing, storing, disseminating and managing information on demand to warfighters, policy makers, and support personnel.â€ The GIG is not just the "Global Information Google" for the DOD: it is a Big Deal to the department and it affects how it does its business.
â€œNet Centricityâ€ has taken on a kind of buzz-word status. But what it was intended to be was a transformational way of doing things with information in the DOD. Net Centricity is to the GIG what a frame is to a building: it should enable all the parts of the house to connect together. The DoD CIO vision of net centricity is based on the assumption that information is a force multiplier, a source of power. If shared effectively, â€œ(i)nformation can be leveraged to allow decision makers at all levels to make better decisions faster and act sooner. Ensuring timely and trusted information is available where it is needed, when it is needed, and to those who need it most is at the heart of the capability needed to conduct Network-Centric Operations (NCO).â€ Net Centricity should move the department from dependency on systems and operations â€œbased on individually engineered and predetermined interfacesâ€ to an enterprise that â€œensures that a user at any level can both â€˜take what he needsâ€™ and â€˜contribute what he knowsâ€™â€. (See â€œThe Power of Information â€“ Overviewâ€).