Cloud

DOD IG: Pentagon falling short on cloud strategy

Shutterstock image: cloud interface.

The Defense Department might be missing out on benefits of the cloud and increasing the risk from cyber threats because of flawed implementation of its cloud-computing strategy, an inspector general report has found.

The DOD IG reviewed three cloud contracts from October 2013 to September 2014 and found that DOD authorities did not get the waivers they needed to use a non-DOD-approved cloud service provider because DOD's CIO "did not develop an implementation plan that included assignment of roles and responsibilities and associated tasks, resources and milestones," the report states. Furthermore, auditors said the CIO did not have a detailed written process in place for getting a waiver.

The department also has provided insufficient training to acquisition and contract specialists who buy cloud services, states the report, which was published Dec. 4.

Former CIO Teri Takai released the department's cloud-computing strategy in July 2012 and called for DOD to move from "the current state of a duplicative, cumbersome and costly set of application silos to an end state [that] is an agile, secure and cost-effective service environment that can rapidly respond to changing mission needs."

But as of June 2014, the department had yet to develop a plan to implement that strategy, the IG report states. The CIO's office decided to fold its implementation plan into designs for the Joint Information Environment, a broad, abstract effort to develop a single enterprise IT platform for all of DOD.

The IG report recommends that acting DOD CIO Terry Halvorsen, who took over for Takai in May, develop a clear plan for implementing the cloud-computing strategy that outlines roles, resources and benchmarks. The acting DOD CIO should also develop detailed guidance for components seeking a cloud-computing waiver, the report states.

In a response included in the report, the DOD CIO's office disagreed with the IG's finding that the department's execution of its cloud strategy was depriving it of some of the cloud's benefits. The CIO's office said skills training for acquisition specialists and the growth of DOD's cloud broker management capabilities are adequate for handling cybersecurity risks.

The IG said the CIO's responses to one of its recommendations were incomplete and, citing a DOD directive, has given the office until Jan. 5 to provide additional comments.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

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


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