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Army CIO Releases Updated Data, Cloud Plans

The service is moving away from being network focused to being data centric.

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The U.S. Army’s new cloud and data plans underpin the service’s vision of a data-centric future, Army CIO Raj Iyer said during an AUSA media roundtable in Washington D.C. Tuesday.

“Across the Army, at echelon, all the commands are now taking that data centric-objective and then looking at how they need to modify and realign each of their own initiatives and programs to make sure they align with that secretary’s priority,” Iyer said.

The updated plan reprioritizes the service’s efforts on the enterprise side. Iyer said that the Army plans to aggressively cut down the number of data centers the service owns, aiming to only have five enduring data centers.

“Then, we’re going to link that up with a commercial cloud … what we’re calling a hybrid-cloud architecture … and that is our ‘to-do’ thing for fiscal year 2023,” Iyer added. “When we do that, we’re now going to have a seamless environment between those five private clouds and the commercial cloud, and we can now seamlessly move data between the two.”

Moving applications to the cloud will become even more critical. In fiscal year 2022, the service moved approximately 100 applications to the cloud, but the Army still has a long way to go. In the new year, Iyer said the Army will conduct “keep or kill” analysis of systems to consolidate before moving to the cloud and has already killed 66 business applications this year alone. In fiscal year 2023, the Army committed to another 103 systems to sunset.

“Between now and fiscal years 2025 to 2026, we’re looking at a 50% reduction in the number of applications and systems that the army owns,” Iyer said.

In support of those migration requirements comes a new enterprise contract vehicle called the Enterprise Application Migration and Modernization (EAMM) contract — a $1 billion multi-award, multi-vendor IDIQ.

“We’re going to establish that here in the second or third quarter of fiscal year 2023,” Iyer said. “This is going to become the easy button for the army to actually move to the cloud.”

Zero trust will underpin Army’s cloud and data modernization.

“What we’re doing differently is we’re now establishing an integrated program office for zero trust … [to] align all these efforts under a single command and control,” Iyer said.

The new program office will ensure a unified, single reference architecture and integrate best-of-breed commercial tools. In terms of implementation, the office will focus on capturing all the dependencies and aligning funding to meet these priorities. As part of the Army’s zero trust journey, the service will work to fully build out its identity, credential and access management (ICAM).

“ICAM is going to be the big implementation for this year,” Iyer said. “The other piece is, through the cloud, we’re going to implement secure access service edge (SASE).”

The Army will hone in on operational technology as it continues to secure its critical cyber infrastructure. The service was awarded $15 million from the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) last week to enable Attack Sensing and Warning (AS&W) and Vulnerability Assessment (VA) cyber capabilities and establish a Security Operations as-a-Service framework that ensures cyber defenders can monitor, respond to and remediate cyber threats.

“With this funding from the White House, we are prioritizing our industrial base and working with our industrial base partners, really censoring our operation technology networks, and then be able to remediate,” Iyer said.

The Army will also prioritize its data fabric to integrate various data into a common operating picture.

“The Army really is in a very mature place when it comes to being able to synthesize data,” Iyer said. “There’s still a long way to go in terms of greater integration with our allied and coalition partners. So one of the other priorities for us this year in fiscal year 2023 is a mission-partner environment. … We’ll move away from being network focused to being data centric.”

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