Army rolls out Google Workspace

By Briana Reilly / October 5, 2022 at 4:27 PM

The Army has begun rolling out Google Workspace across the service, an arrangement that will ultimately provide up to 250,000 soldiers with access to the company's software tools.

The news, announced Tuesday, was lauded by the Army chief information officer and marks one of Google Public Sector’s first major partnerships since its launch in July.

Calling the suite “now operational and live,” CIO Raj Iyer wrote in a LinkedIn post this week that officials “have implemented the first Impact Level 4 Google Workspace in the federal government to process Controlled Unclassified Information.” The products received the Defense Department’s IL4 security requirement authorization earlier this summer.

As part of the move, Iyer wrote, new Army entrants within the active duty, Reserve and National Guard units will receive a Google Workspace account and email address upon obtaining their Common Access Card. Those soldiers will hold onto their Google accounts until they complete basic and advanced individual training, at which point commanders will make a determination about whether an Army365 account is needed, according to the post.

The effort is run out of the Army’s Enterprise Cloud Management Agency and will also include the transition of the Army Software Factory to Google Workspace, Iyer wrote.

Asked about the timeline for giving soldiers access, Army spokesman Bryce Dubee noted that while the service has the option to onboard up to 250,000 users, “additional operational assessments are needed to determine whether the Army will hit that number.”

“Any new user groups identified will be transitioned on a rolling wave basis provided their data access requirements continue to be at the CUI level for which the IL4 cloud is accredited,” he added in an email to Inside Defense.

The development comes after a preliminary test of Google Workspace earlier this year, which was previously reported by C4ISRNET, as service officials grappled with a shortage of Microsoft 365 licenses that would have left some 250,000 without access to official email accounts following a transition from Defense Enterprise Email, according to reporting from Army Times.

Google Workspace is currently leveraged elsewhere in DOD, including the Air Force Research Lab, where it’s available for a few thousand AFRL scientists and engineers to broaden channels of communication with academic, industrial, small business and other collaborators outside of government.

Google, one of four companies that has submitted bids for the multivendor Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, DOD’s new cloud enterprise solution, has been working to broaden its deals with the military services, as Google Cloud’s federal director, Shannon Sullivan, previously detailed to Inside Defense.