Defense

Deputy defense secretary says DOD will get its 'arms around' cloud

Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan speaks during the Defense Intelligence Agency change of directorship ceremony at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington. D.C., Oct. 3, 2017  DOD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley 

Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan speaks at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington. D.C., Oct. 3, 2017. (DOD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the Pentagon and the defense industrial base aren’t on the same wavelength when it comes to acquisition reform and readiness.

“You have this incredible industrial base and we’ve got our signals off.” He said the signals weren’t off “in a bad way” but off enough to slow things down compared to the private sector Shanahan said at the Center for New American Security’s "Evolving the Future Force" event March 29.

It’s tricky trying to “take the tools and investments being made in the shipbuilding industry and scale them up,” while leveraging some of the productivity gains and thinking” in the automotive and aerospace industries, said Shanahan, who was formerly Boeing’s senior vice president for supply chain and operations.

That lack of communication could impede readiness.

"We’re not getting enough time with our industrial partners or the industrial base to really get after those things that quite frankly take changes on the behalf of the government to unlock the trapped productivity," Shanahan said, "Or find some way to share the risk."

In the end, the Defense Department is going to “get stuff done,” especially when it comes to cloud migration even if it takes time to complete, he said.

"When you read there are 500 and some cloud projects going on in the 15th largest economy in the world, that’s not a surprise," Shanahan said referring to the Defense Department.

"The fact is that we’re going to get our arms around it -- that will happen. And in something that’s as large as the 15th largest economy in the world, doesn’t happen overnight.”

Shanahan said DOD was “herding things up” and attracting new people to join the team, presumably referring to the Cloud Executive Steering Group, and leveraging existing technology.

“It also gives us a chance to bring new companies, new ideas, and expand the people that we work with in the Department of Defense,” 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 lwilliams@fcw.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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