After months of waiting, Army finally unveils updated cloud, data plans

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AUSA 2022 – The Army this week rolled out a new plan for how it will leverage its cloud and, for the first time, released another plan to develop a data-centric service. The two strategies, which officials have been discussing for several months, were unveiled Monday at the Association of the American Army’s annual conference.

Speaking at the conference, Army Information Director Raj Iyer said the cloud plan “builds on the capabilities we’ve built over the last 18 months and focuses[es] on how we are going to operationalize this ability for the fighter.

The cloud plan, for the first time, includes the implementation of a zero trust architecture – a security framework in which it is assumed that a network is always at risk of being exposed to threats and requires that all users be authenticated and authorized.

The other plan, which sets out the service’s goals for a digital-infused military, separated the service’s efforts into short- or long-term categories, and recognizes that the service won’t overcome its many digital challenges all at once. . Iyer said the data plan, which has been classified for two years and is now publicly available, is another key part of the military’s “digital transformation.”

An updated cloud plan that includes Zero Trust

The Army has been talking about its next cloud plan since May, when Paul Puckett, director of the service’s Enterprise Cloud Management Agency (ECMA), said he expected it to be released more. late this year. But until recently, the military hadn’t included zero trust as part of that plan.

Now, however, the plan outlines three areas of zero-trust efforts: zero-trust transport, zero-trust cloud-native capabilities, and zero-trust control. The plan defines a zero-trust architecture as a “security model, a set of system design principles, and a coordinated cybersecurity and system management strategy based on the recognition that threats exist both within and outside the boundaries of the traditional network”.

As part of the Zero Trust Transport Line of Effort, the Army wants to develop “transport lanes for the enterprise global cloud ecosystem at the tactical edge to include the commercial backbone and satellite communications,” among other tasks. The service also wants to add or modify solutions within the Zero Trust Architecture to provide Zero Trust capabilities and establish a “configuration and change control board to oversee” the Zero Trust Architecture, as well as other Goals.

The service’s push towards zero trust is part of a larger effort within the Department of Defense to implement the architecture across the department. in the next five years. The Pentagon is developing its own zero-trust strategy that will outline dozens of capabilities needed to bring the department to what it calls a “targeted” zero trust.

Other strategic goals in the Army’s 15-page plan, drawn up by Army Information Director Raj Iyer and Puckett, include cloud expansion; enabling secure and rapid software development; accelerate data-driven decisions; improve cloud operations; grow the cloud workforce; and ensuring cost transparency and accountability.

When it comes to improving cloud operations, the Army wants to develop an “enterprise cloud portal” that integrates all of the Army’s cloud initiatives with its mission partners, including the DoD, industry, and the academia, according to the plan. ECMA will also develop a cloud service management platform that will automate workflows and centralize customer service capabilities.

A data plan for a digital army

Meanwhile, the Army Data Plan places a strong emphasis on data and data analytics and includes four short-term goals and seven long-term strategic goals to achieve the “Army of 2030.”

With the short-term goals, “the approach is not to try to solve all digital operations issues in the military from the start,” according to the plan. “It is necessary to obtain information on the actual operations of the army to guarantee a durable and effective solution.”

Short-term goals focus on exercises that involve a small number of operational units with the intent of integrating feedback from events “across the Army in a later phase leading to the Army of 2030 “, continues the plan. These exercises are broken down into four “stages”: establishment of a level above the operational framework of the brigade, finalization of the prioritization of needs, prioritization of solutions and implications of the program objective memorandum 24 (POM24).

One of the long-term goals set out in the plan includes delivering faster software and business analytics to get ahead of adversaries. But delivering software at a faster speed is tricky — at least for the DoD itself, which as of June was still struggling. provide working software for its weapons systems in a timely manner.

“The military needs the ability to innovate and react quickly to sustain operations faster than our adversary,” according to the plan. “Our military must be able to provide new decision aids, such as data analysis or new software tools to meet mission requirements. The desired outcome is to improve the means to reduce the time for rapid data analysis and to identify needs throughout the process, from validated need to initial capability in the field.

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