DHS to launch cloud steering group

cloud (Singkham/ 

The Department of Homeland Security is launching a cloud steering group as part of its cloud computing strategy, CIO John Zangardi said during a keynote address at AFCEA's 2018 Cyber Summit on Feb. 27.

"There are 584 applications roughly in DHS, 52 are in the process of or are moving to the cloud. So there's 29 applications across the components at headquarters that are currently in the cloud right now," Zangardi said. "That's not a significant number when you think about it out of 584. We need to do better, so we're setting up a cloud steering group."

The cloud steering group would be at the undersecretary level, he said, "to make sure that we take advantage and cut across all the equities that are out there and start moving this forward" and include a slew of executives, namely the chief procurement officer, chief security officer, chief privacy officer, CIOs and their deputies, among other executives.

"The idea here is to establish a stretch goal as we move forward over the next year," Zangardi said, though he wouldn't give specific numbers because they were still being worked out. The plan is to target a number of applications to be moved over and the processes needed to do so.

"The idea here is to temper out roadblocks.  Is it a contracting problem? Is it a technical problem? Is it a money problem? Is it a privacy problem? And then work through those problems so we can then expedite how we want to move forward," Zangardi said.

The move comes as the Department of Defense, where Zangardi served as acting CIO before his move to DHS, is fielding a high-level cloud steering group to come up with a plan for large-scale cloud adoption. The DOD effort, which is being led by the Defense Digital Service, is holding an industry day in March to update vendors on its plans.

Zangardi also said he was looking at getting a virtual trusted interface connection, similar to the Defense Department's cloud access point, and is working with commercial cloud venders to "reduce the complexity and latency" during cloud migration.

Zangardi also mentioned he was forming an integrated product team on the executive level to work with DHS components to remove obstacles and assign tasks that propel cloud migration forward.

"The objective here is to make sure that everything we do is agnostic and it is hybrid in nature," he said.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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