Cloud Computing

DOD approves four cloud solutions for department-wide use

Cloud Security

Four cloud service solutions thus far have achieved provisional authorization under additional security controls required by the Defense Department: Autonomic Resources Cloud Platform (ARC-P), CGI Federal's IaaS solution and Amazon Web Services' Government Community Cloud and East/West US Public Cloud.

What that means is that each of the four solutions has been assessed against additional security controls on top of baseline standards they met under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), allowing them to compete DOD-wide for cloud computing contracts under the Defense Information Systems Agency's Enterprise Cloud Service Broker catalog.

However, these CSPs have been authorized only at DOD Impact Levels 1 and 2, which cover the department's unclassified public and unclassified private information. DISA assigns impact levels to data depending on its type and confidentiality, integrity and availability in categorizations of low-, moderate-, or high-risk under the Federal Information Process Standard Publication (FIPS) 199.

The bulk of DOD's expected cloud savings is expected to occur at Impact Levels 3-5, which signify higher-risk unclassified data, but CSPs have yet to be assessed against these standards.

In an e-mailed statement, DISA Chief Technology Officer David Mihelcic said he anticipates formal assessments at impact levels 3-5 to begin in the second quarter of 2014. Impact Level 6 is designated for classified information only, and draft standards for commercial CSPs to meet have not been formally released yet for that level.

Requirements and criteria for levels 3-5 were made available to industry in December 2013, Mihelcic said. Sources tell FCW one reason for the delay between standards release and potential assessments is that templates drafted by DISA for CSPs to create their Systems Security Plans (SSPs) were held up.

"The CSPs are left basically waiting for the form," the source said.

DOD's cautious path to the cloud is a point of contention among many commercial cloud providers that view such slow efforts as contrary to the Obama administration's Cloud First policy, but some positive signs have come from Pentagon CIO Teri Takai. She recently told the House Armed Services subcommittee that nine CSPs are in the pipeline to provide services to DOD.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group