Written by Brandi Vincent
The Department of Defense’s top watchdog is conducting market research to determine exactly what a move to the cloud would mean and bring to its organization.
According to a two-page Request for Information (RFI) published this week, the DOD Inspector General’s Office is interested in commercial cloud solutions that could secure its particularly sensitive information and workloads, in an environment isolated from various other departmental cloud services. tenants.
Acting Principal Assistant Inspector General Steven Stebbins briefed FedScoop on the defense watchdog’s possible journey to the cloud and how RFI should be viewed in the context of the ongoing joint capability pursuit. DOD Cloud Combat System (JWCC).
“At this time, we haven’t made any major decisions to move to the cloud. Our environment is currently hosted in [Defense Information Systems Agency] data centers, but obviously this is a rapidly evolving field. It’s evolving and we want to have all the information we need, so if we decide to make a decision later – and possibly move to the cloud – we are fully informed,” Stebbins explained.
The Army veteran, who is also currently the OIG chief of staff, noted that the office “is now in a good place” when it comes to its IT infrastructure, but needs to be prepared for anything the future might bring.
“So that’s really all that [RFI] is on point,” Stebbins said.
In order to house Pentagon data, cloud service offerings must comply with a number of government regulations and be categorized into one of several impact levels, which are based on the sensitivity of that data.
In the RFI, OIG officials note their intent to learn more about cloud solutions approved to host DOD Impact Level 5 (IL5) information — or the most sensitive level of unclassified information — and connect to unclassified internet protocol router network. (NIPRNet). They confirm in the document that “the OIG plans to operate in a hybrid environment with a gradual move of key applications to the cloud over time.”
Specifically, the bureau wants to hear from other federal entities that have moved to the cloud about the cost savings and benefits they have realized by doing so. Other stakeholders beyond government are also invited to weigh in on how technology could impact the IG.
“I think our requirements are quite unique due to our position within the department, so it will be interesting to see what other people with similar requirements are doing,” Stebbins said.
Responses to this RFI must be received by July 19.
As it is only “beginning to gather information,” Stebbins said the OIG does not currently have a timeline for next steps. Once information is collected through the RFI, it will be shared with the Chief Information Office and other key technology players. And as with any RFI, there is no obligation to go ahead with a supply.
“We don’t want to be reactive and end up in a position where the department is going in one direction and we have little time to change our current arrangements,” Stebbins said. “We want to anticipate that and then be ready to make timely decisions.”
Notably, the OIG is continuing this research as the broader DOD prepares to award its highly anticipated multi-vendor cloud contract vehicle, JWCC. Google, Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services are currently competing for rewards on this vehicle, which is worth billions and replaced the JEDI contract after the DOD’s original and years-long enterprise cloud competition was canceled.
“While we’re certainly aware of what the ministry is doing, our demands are our demands — and I don’t know if what we’re doing here is really part of that conversation, at least at this point,” Stebbins said.
If the OIG moves forward with implementing its own cloud before the JWCC fully materializes, it is unclear at this time whether it will consider other cloud providers beyond these four contenders for the larger DOD contract mechanism.
“I really can’t say at this point. We collect information. We’ll see what happens in the future,” Stebbins said. “So we are open to all possible options.”