The Defense Department has released a cloud computing strategy all its own, aimed at moving current network applications from a duplicative, cumbersome and costly set of application silos to an end state designed to create a more agile, secure, and cost-effective service environment that can rapidly respond to changing needs.

Teri Takai, CIO at the Defense Department, said the government agency is moving to an enterprise cloud environment that provides tangible benefits across the department by supporting the delivery of the joint information environment, from the continental United States to the warfighter at the tactical edge.

Committed to the Cloud

"This strategy lays the groundwork, as part of the Joint Information Environment framework, for achieving cloud adoption within the department," Takai said. "It focuses on the creation of department core data centers, enterprise cloud infrastructure and sustainment of cloud services."

As part of the Defense Department's cloud computing strategy, the government has named the Defense Information Systems Agency as the enterprise cloud service broker to help maintain mission assurance and information interoperability within this new strategy.

"The Defense Department is committed to accelerating the adoption of cloud computing and providing a secure, resilient enterprise cloud environment," Takai said. "This strategy will align with all department-wide information technology efficiency initiatives, federal data center consolidation and cloud computing efforts. The result of the strategy will be improved mission effectiveness, increased IT efficiencies, and enhanced cyber security."

The Cloud Drumbeat

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told us he's not surprised the Defense Department has developed a cloud computing strategy.

The MeriTalk Cloud Computing Exchange, a community of federal cloud leaders, estimates that federal agencies are already saving $5.5 billion a year via cloud implementations and that those savings could balloon to $12 billion as the cloud gains momentum in the federal government. MeriTalk also discovered that Defense Department respondents have a rosier picture of the cloud and its impact, estimating that IT budgets will decrease.

"For some time now, there's been a drumbeat around the value that cloud computing offers to businesses, and the DoD's Defense Information Systems Agency announcement proves that public sector institutions intend to embrace the cloud, as well," King said.

"That's all to the good, and the decision to name DISA as the DoD's cloud service broker is a smart one since it should help ensure that cloud strategies and implementations will follow a common set of rules and guidelines, making successful outcomes more likely."