Why the Army Elevated Its Enterprise Cloud Office to Agency Status


Director Paul Puckett explained the move is a recognition that cloud computing is not a temporary project.

The U.S. Army’s home for enterprise cloud was elevated to field operating agency status in order to better equip it with the resources needed to facilitate implementation and execution of the Army’s cloud strategy, according to the agency’s director. 

The Army chief information officer announced earlier this week that the Enterprise Cloud Management Office, originally stood up in November 2019, would now be known as the Enterprise Cloud Management Agency, a field operating agency under the office of the CIO. During a Wednesday Signal Magazine webinar, Paul Puckett, who will continue on as ECMA’s director, said the change is a recognition that cloud is more than just a temporary project. 

“This is really a mandate for change and modernization,” Puckett said. “The cloud is an imperative foundation to enable that modernization and being a FOA allows us to really kind of the breadth and depth to reach and go do the way that we need to do across the total Army.”

Agency status allows the enterprise cloud team to be fully resourced to realize the Army’s cloud plans in addition to supporting the CIO with policy and governance, Puckett said. Becoming a FOA also means the ECMA has a mandate to demonstrate successes to justify investments, Puckett said. Initiatives like cArmy, the Army’s cloud common services environment, has accelerated movement to the cloud from nine to 12 months down to a matter of weeks, he added as an example of such a demonstration. 

“That drives down the cost of ownership and drives down the number of people that are required, and allows the mission applications and the system owners to simply focus on what is their mission, what is their application and how can we best optimize that system to leverage the cloud, in order to deliver the effectiveness and the efficiencies that we believe the cloud is currently today and will be delivering for the way that we need to conduct our readiness and lethality mission,” Puckett said. 

A major piece of the cArmy puzzle fell into place in February, Puckett recently announced. The Army’s DevSecOps platform received its authority to operate for controlled unclassified information, Puckett said last week during Federal News Network’s DOD Cloud Exchange event. The ecosystem already has an application in production, he added. 

The Army also replaced an old policy around moving to the cloud with a cloud modernization approval process focused on systems and their key characteristics like how they share information and what software capabilities they have in order to create plans with adequate resources for a move to the cloud, Puckett said during the Signal webinar. Since cArmy came online, 46 systems are being built and running in the cloud right now, he said. 

“That work is complex work and so in ‘20 as well as now in ‘21, we've identified some key priority systems that we really want to see some movement on,” Puckett said. Some of those initiatives have to do with enterprise resource planning services and turning the Army’s tactical server infrastructure to a tactical cloud infrastructure.