DOD CIO says there can't be one cloud to rule them all

Dana Deasy told Congress at a FITARA hearing that when it comes to cloud, "there is no such thing as one solution."

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It hasn't taken long for the Defense Department's new CIO Dana Deasy to get up to speed on the Pentagon's plans for cloud.

"In a cloud world, there is no such thing as one solution that's going to solve for all," Deasy told lawmakers when asked his opinion on a multi-cloud environment during a House Oversight for Government Reform's Information Technology Subcommittee hearing May 23.

"You're going to always have a need -- when you build anything -- where you're going to have specific requirements that are going to be best served by unique providers," he said. "That is no different than [what] has always been the case with technology."

Deasy's testimony followed the White House's release of its policy positions on the draft 2019 National Defense Authorization Act May 22, which supported congressional oversight of DOD cloud acquisitions to "prevent delays in the delivery of new capabilities."

During the hearing, Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd, who chairs the IT subcommittee, asked about the DOD's controversial Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud acquisition and whether the CIO was properly involved.

Deasy, who has only two weeks on the job, told legislators that he wasn't completely abreast of DOD's cloud strategy, namely any discussions specific to contracts, arrangements, or requests for proposals, due to his ongoing public financial disclosure review.

Kevin Fahey, DOD's assistant secretary for acquisition, testified that Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord had the final say on the strategy, but that the CIO office was very involved and the process was "in the final throes."

However, Deasy emphasized the potential for increased cost-savings and organizational efficiency that cloud infrastructure can bring, adding that he plans to ramp up cloud migrations across the military services.

"The delivery of new cloud capability promises to provide commercial solutions that will accelerate data center closures, achieve cost efficiencies and improve return on investments," Deasy said in his opening statement. In addition to migrating support agencies to MilCloud 2.0, "we expect the military departments to also ramp up migrations and closures now that efficient capabilities are readily available," he said.

DOD spends up to seven percent of its total budget on information technology, according to Deputy Chief Financial Officer Mark Easton, who also testified May 23. The projected cost saving for fiscal 2018 through 2023 is approximately $3.2 billion, Deasy said.

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