Army sets up 'provisional' cloud management office

Army CIO Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford said the service has begun to set up an enterprise cloud management office and hired a leader.

U.S. Army CIO Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford March 11, 2019. (Photo credit: Spc. Connor Kelly/U.S. Army)

U.S. Army CIO Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, shown here at an event at MITRE on March 11, 2019 (Photo credit: Spc. Connor Kelly/U.S. Army)

The Army now has a fledgling cloud management office.

The Army's CIO, Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, told reporters at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference Oct 15 in Washington, D.C., there is a "provisional" enterprise cloud management office to oversee the Army's cloud initiatives, assisting in migrations and training. Further details on the office's  leadership and programs would come "later on this quarter," he said.

The CIO first announced plans to stand up a cloud program office in March, saying the service wasn't quite ready to take advantage of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure platform once a winning vendor is named. (A JEDI award was expected in August at the earliest, but the procurement process is now under defense secretary review.)

Crawford has said in the past that a cloud office would need contracts for cloud migration, personnel services and shared services, and would start on several pathfinder efforts relating to tactical intelligence data, financial management applications, global force integration systems, logistics and maintenance, and the tactical service and infrastructure.

"Absolutely, there is a need for an enterprise cloud," Crawford told reporters Oct. 15, referring to JEDI.

And to prepare for it, the Army is assessing what applications and data are best for a general-purpose cloud versus a fit-for-purpose one, as the service is interested in having both.

Enterprise as a service

The Army has selected nine locations to test its enterprise-as-a-service experiments. The Army first indicated it was headed toward the enterprise-IT-as-a-service model in February. Crawford confirmed plans in March saying that related pilots would start this year.

So far, the Army has awarded about $34 million in contracts to Verizon, Microsoft and AT&T to lead the pilots that will take place over the next three years. Each pilot is expected to last two to three years.

So long Army Cyber Command?

Army Cyber Command is getting a new name to match its information warfare capabilities.

"We're reorganizing Army Cyber Command to synchronize Army information warfare capabilities," Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said during the AUSA keynote Oct. 15. "Its new alignment will change how we conduct information warfare by integrating and employing intelligence, information operations, cyber, electronic warfare and space capabilities to provide combatant commanders with options to compete below the level of armed conflict."

Army Cyber Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty first talked about the command's inevitable transformation shortly after taking the job in 2018.

"In three, four, five years from now, we'll no longer be called Army Cyber Command. We're going to be Army Information Warfare Operations, or Information Dominance Operations," he said in August 2018. "We're going to be something else that's actually going to reflect the totality of the capabilities, the challenges, the opportunities of operating in this environment."

Fogarty told reporters Oct. 15 the official name change is under review, but the focus on information operations was already present.

"When I look at the network, I look from the enterprise to tactical as a continuum. We're actually engaged in information operations today. Some of it's from a very tactical level and some of it is from a more strategic, more operational level, and we're using all aspects of our network to be able to conduct that," Fogarty said Oct. 15.

"I've been engaged in information warfare since the day I took this job. We didn't call it that," but commanders are asking for it, he said.