Congress demands more openness from DOD on cloud

military cloud 

Congress is taking a harder line with the Department of Defense over plans to migrate warfighting and business applications to the cloud.

The 2,500-page conference report to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act released July 23 by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees aired concerns over transparency inside the Pentagon about its acquisition strategy.

"Although transparency and information sharing by the Department on the Cloud Initiative has slightly improved, it continues to be insufficient for conducting congressional oversight," conferees wrote in an explanatory statement accompanying the report. "The conferees expect the Department to improve communication with Congress on this issue and will consider additional legislation if an improvement is not seen."

The final compromise NDAA is expected to be released next week, as Congress races to get the defense bill approved before the November elections.

The report included several mandates for the DOD CIO, including the production of a report outlining its cloud strategies and the overall impact the controversial Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program will have on existing networks.

The conference report requested DOD outline its cloud initiatives and strategy for how it will manage networks, data centers and cloud environments at the enterprise level, including completion status within 90 days of the 2019 bill’s passage.

The report also sought clarification on the paused Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure acquisition, a high-profile cloud effort recently reassigned to the control of OCIO. It called for answers on how the program will be implemented and its effects on existing cloud infrastructure, platform and service contracts across the organization, particularly the Defense Information Systems Agency’s MilCloud 2.0.

Lawmakers stressed that they wanted an approach that would support competition as spelled out in the Federal Acquisition Regulation and detailed infrastructure upgrades to support application migration. The conference report also specified that cloud solutions accommodate the movement of data and applications among different cloud providers.

The language echoed demands made by House appropriators in the $675 billion funding bill passed in late June.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, 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 [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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