The Defense Department chief information officer needs more clout when it comes to moving to cloud computing, according to an advisory committee consisting of industry executives.
“Someone needs to be in charge. Our recommendation is that this is such a significant undertaking that it needs to be really owned by the Office of the Deputy Secretary and then he needs to authorize, in our view, the DoD CIO to undertake it,” said David Langstaff, a member of the Defense Business Board and the CEO of TASC.
Langstaff said the Pentagon can learn from the private sector when it comes to implementing the cloud. One lesson is not to “race to the cloud,” he said.
“Certainly, the cloud is not a panacea. It will not solve all ills,” Langstaff said.
DoD must take a “sequenced, logical” approach to moving to the cloud: First, consolidating its data systems and then developing a cloud strategy before moving to the cloud.
The cloud is particularly useful for the department because the United States no longer fights “single service” wars, Langstaff said.
“The way we’re undertaking these things now is on a very collaborative basis where information has to be shared,” he said. “Therefore, you really have to make a commitment to optimize your IT infrastructure at the DoD enterprise level.”
Security is still a central issue when moving to the cloud, but Langstaff argued that the cloud can actually improve on cybersecurity by “focusing not only on perimeter defense but on upgrading the ability to recover, redundancies and take other such measures.”
“What was really intriguing was to see the degree to which operating efficiencies could be achieved and in fact, how taking these steps could fundamentally transform the mission and the way the mission of the DoD is done,” he said,
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Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-10 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.