plugging into the cloud

DOD building a cloud provisioning tool for JEDI

With its plans to release a militarywide commercial cloud contract in September, the Pentagon wants to make sure defense agencies can take full advantage of the cloud. A new provisioning system is under development that will automate much of the back-end complexity that comes with government cloud deployments.

The "self-service automated provisioning tool" would be a key enabler for the "rapid access and adoption" that the Defense Department wants for commercial cloud services, said Lt. Col. Kaight Meyers, the program manager for DOD's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud acquisition

"Through this tool the department will be able to manage a lot of the back-end business processes and implementations of appropriate security policies in an automated fashion, rather than manually," Meyers said.  

"The tool will have built-in controls and oversight for security, billing and usage," she added, "and will be designed to maximize security, ease of use, and develop common standards to take full advantage of cloud services."

The goal is "to have a minimum viable product by JEDI award," Meyers said, because DOD views the provisioning system as "critical to enabling users to focus their resources on their primary mission."

The tool is being developed in-house by the Defense Digital Service.  Tim Van Name, DDS' deputy director, told reporters after the event that DOD officials have "talked at length about what is required to lower the bar to adoption of these incredible commercial capabilities."  Back-end business processes emerged as an obvious place to start.

The provisioning tool will "allow us to manage the billing services in the way the department must in accordance with law," Van Name said.  "And then when services are provisioned, to assist with the configuration … in accordance with the appropriate security [controls] to manage the department’s risk."

Exactly what cloud services will need to be configured, however, will not be known until DOD settles on a winning proposal for the JEDI contract.   But Van Name said DDS developers are pushing ahead "on a sort of provider-agnostic framework."

"We’re really focused on integrating with the department’s systems," he said. "And then once the contract is awarded, that last mile will be completed, and [the provisioning system] will be hooked with the winning proposal."

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.


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