US unveils new DoD Cloud Initiative for digital modernisation

Talal Husseini 5 February 2019 (Last Updated February 5th, 2019 16:36)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has unveiled a new Cloud Initiative to improve computing power and digital security by transferring many of its computing and storage functions onto the cloud.

US unveils new DoD Cloud Initiative for digital modernisation
The US Department of Defense has unveiled a new cloud computing strategy to enhance modernisation and cybersecurity. Credit: US Air Force/Ken Hammond.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has unveiled a new Cloud Initiative to improve computing power and digital security by transferring many of its computing and storage functions onto the cloud.

According to DoD chief information officer Dana Deasy, using the cloud will help to accelerate computing power, which in turn shortens the time taken for novel capabilities to reach deployed US warfighters.

Deasy said: “Cloud in itself just gives you compute capability.  It’s what you choose to build on top of that that matters. And in this case, I believe what DoD is going to want to focus on — really embrace and accelerate as fast as we can — is how we adopt and bring artificial intelligence (AI) into the organisation.”

The DoD Cloud Initiative will help the US Government to optimise the process of building next-generation digital apps, using AI for example, to help warfighters in real-life defence scenarios.

He added: “It allows us to take advantage of all the new technology from the various commercial cloud providers and create applications that are a lot more resilient [and elastic].

“One of the things traditional computing has always had a problem with is the warfighter sitting out on the tactical edge, [with the] cloud sitting [elsewhere]. Now imagine a world where we can take that compute power with new applications on top of it, and put the cloud right into the hands of the tactical fighter on the edge. That’s why the cloud is so important to us.”

"Imagine a world where we can take that compute power with new applications on top of it, and put the cloud right into the hands of the tactical fighter."

Under the strategy, the DoD will integrate multiple cloud providers into the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) programme, which will allow the DoD to find bespoke cloud solutions to meet its needs.

The JEDI programme will include both a general-purpose cloud for employees that need large computational power at certain times and fit-for-purpose clouds to meet bespoke needs for when the general-purpose cloud is insufficient.

Another benefit of the DoD Cloud Initiative is said to be increased digital security.

Deasy said: “Imagine being able to take advantage of a cloud and all the tools that come with it so you can inherently build an application from the start with a lot more robust security than how we’ve traditionally built applications.

“By having an enterprise cloud, it’s what we put on top of it — in this case, AI — [so] it’s almost a fundamental imperative to have a cloud in place to do great things with AI.”