DOD not ready for total cloud migration, CIO says

Department making strides in efficiencies, acquisition and IT but still has a ways to go

Defense Department CIO Teri Takai on April 21 cautioned against jumping too quickly into cloud computing.

“If we move to a cloud environment with today’s technology, it would make the world worse, not better…from an enterprise perspective [and] from a security perspective. We’re still at stage one. How do we make sure we’re doing it in a way that’s secure? We have to remember that cloud services have to fit into overall services,” she said.

Takai also said a wholesale DOD move to cloud computing would require better organization and strategy, since the department's volumes of data spread throughout different places could prove difficult to find and access in a cloud environment.

Instead, she said the broader DOD could take advantage of some cloud technologies by taking a cue from the aggressive plans of the individual services to implement their own data center consolidation strategies.

In another area, Takai said she remains focused on meeting the needs of deployed forces.

“It’s easy to get caught up with the things we do at the Pentagon, in the defense community…we get caught up in the day-to-day,” she said, speaking at a briefing sponsored by Input. “Long-term planning is essential, but at the same time we have to be focused on the individuals on the ground and giving them what they need.”

Takai also highlighted the need to understand and defend against the growing cyber threat.

“The kinds of [cyber] threats and challenges we’re facing are growing exponentially…[and] it’s important to understand the level and scope of threats at DOD,” she said. “Cyberspace shouldn’t just be an ancillary part of how we defend the country; we need to integrate it as a domain.”

To do so, DOD is collaborating with Homeland Security Department, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command on different cyber-related issues, including the development and implementation of policies and framework, Takai said.

Takai’s office is also collaborating with other government agencies to take on evolving DOD efficiency requirements and IT acquisition reform. She said DOD is working with Federal CIO Vivek Kunda and the Office of Management and Budget to improve efficiencies in portfolio management, enterprise architecture and transparency.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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Reader comments

Sat, Apr 23, 2011 dimly

"Cloud" based technologies make access easier and more secure, not harder and less. Maintaining secure and up-to-date systems throughout the DoD is time consuming and a losing battle. One might say that putting all our eggs in one basket is not prudent, however, at our current levels, we don't even know where are eggs are, let alone how many are compromised and spoiled. Networked, centralized resources are the way forward toward a leaner, meaner, and secured DoD network (In my opinion). But if you're lobbying to keep the money trains flowing toward wasted resources and demonstrably insecure systems, by all means keep backpeddeling on re-orientating our DoD networks.

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 RayW

"Cloud" computing is wonderful, a gigantic shared virtual hard drive out somewhere on the internet, accessible anywhere by anyone at any time. Only one set of software to update, all other users have an e-paper license to access the various software packages. Less license cost since you do not have licenses sitting unused as work shifts cycle through the various time zones. All very nice on paper and in Sci-Fi stories.

A few days ago there was a blog on how China was beating the US at the cyber-war game. I wonder if they are the ones pushing this "cloud" computing? Sounds like a black hat hacker's dream to some of us.

Considering the problems that the government has at keeping the intra/internet connections up, how do they propose to keep folks working with the slowdowns and dropouts that occur every day? Just trying to get to other bases to utilize the consolidated services like personnel or mandatory training can be painful. Even trying to get to internet printers sometimes has problems in the same room! Can you imagine trying to do real work in a timely manner on a regular basis if everyting was internet based? Reminds me of the old days when we use to make to with a central computer, and could only use what tools someone else thought we needed.

But that was before the days of Altair, Radio Shack, NorthStar, Heathkit, Kaypro,, Cromemco, and others that freed us to be able to work as needed, not as dictated. Now we are reverting back to the older technology paradigm. (Granted, "cloud" computing can be designed to allow the normal user to load other software packages as needed to do special tasks..note the word 'can'.....)

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