The top lawmaker on the House Armed Services cyber and tech subcommittee also said DOD has to move beyond a focus on migration toward cloud security and optimization.
The top lawmaker on the House Armed Services cyber and technology subcommittee said on Wednesday the stalled Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract shouldn’t prevent the advancement of cloud adoption at the Defense Department.
“While it may seem the DOD cloud efforts are in a holding pattern over JEDI, the fact of the matter is that JEDI, while a general purpose contract, represents only a fraction of DOD cloud use,” Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., chair of HASC’s subcommittee on cyber and technology, said during a General Dynamics Information Technology and MeriTalk webinar.
“So, I do believe that there's a lot that the DOD can do now to continue advancing objectives related to IT reform, AI, data standards and transparency, security, workforce and cultural change,” he added.
The JEDI project has been in flux for years due to protests, and the latest decision from the judge overseeing the current litigation did not go DOD’s way. Earlier this week during Defense One’s Tech Summit event, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks suggested the department will define a “direction” for enterprise cloud in the next month.
While DOD officials and experts say cloud at DOD has advanced steadily since JEDI was originally awarded to Microsoft in 2019, many agree that the agency still needs an enterprise capability. Whether that means the Pentagon stands by JEDI, tries for a JEDI redux, or pursues a new solution entirely remains to be seen.
During the GDIT event, Langevin also said cloud at DOD can no longer be focused narrowly on migration; security, governance, management and optimization necessitate a greater focus, he said.
“I believe that we have our marching orders: invest in innovation and next generation possibilities, push for cultural change at the department and support those in the vanguard, encourage the department to buy commercially available cloud services rather than reinvent the wheel, ensure they maintain an updated cloud strategy that aligns with other modernization efforts,” Langevin said. “Finally, help them implement it as quickly as possible.”
DOD’s cloud strategy—of which JEDI was a significant component—came out in 2018. Recently, DOD signed off on a cloud strategy for Outside the Continental U.S., or OCONUS, operations as well. Langevin’s subcommittee, newly formed during the current Congress, will hear testimony June 29 from acting Chief Information Officer John Sherman on DOD’s IT and cyber efforts.