DOD's new on-premise cloud granted authority to operate

By Justin Doubleday / March 6, 2018 at 9:56 AM

The Defense Information Systems Agency has granted CSRA approval to begin operating a new on-premise, commercial cloud environment.

DISA granted milCloud 2.0 the provisional authorization to host “Impact Level 5” data, meaning the servers can now host unclassified national security systems, high-sensitivity systems containing Controlled, Unclassified Information (CUI), and Mission Critical Information (MCI), according to a company press release issued today.

“For the next 60 days we will be working with our early adopters to fine-tune our business processes,” Caroline Bean, DISA milCloud 2.0 program manager, said in a March 6 statement. “The next step will be to open the doors for business to everyone else who is waiting to onboard. Our target is early May.”

In June, DISA awarded CSRA an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract worth up to $498 million for milCloud 2.0 commercial cloud infrastructure services. Early last month, General Dynamics announced it plans to acquire CSRA in a $9.6 billion deal.

MilCloud 2.0 is a contractor owned and operated, commercial cloud environment hosted on military premises, with locations at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. MilCloud 1.0, meanwhile, is entirely owned and operated by the U.S. military.

In a Feb. 6 interview, Damon Bramble of CSRA said the company had already been working with the “early adopter community” to test milCloud 2.0 as they waited for the authority to operate the system. The early adopters set up a “healthy pipeline of potential consumers” for milCloud 2.0 services, he said.

“When you're dealing with Impact Level 5, you're tending to deal with more sensitive systems, whether it's financial systems, [human resource] systems, logistics systems or global command-and-control systems,” Bramble explained.

The milCloud 2.0 contract includes allowance for Impact Level 6, or classified information, according to Bramble, but the system would need to be certified with additional security controls to host such information.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s cloud executive steering group is planning to conduct a new cloud competition, called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, to accelerate DOD’s adoption of commercial cloud. While some believe the steering group’s competition may reduce or even eliminate the work of previous cloud contracts, Bramble said there’s space for multiple clouds at DOD.

“The cloud future across the DOD is likely to be very hybrid, very multi-cloud,” he said. “There's no problem with these initiatives working together to support that ultimate charter of accelerating adoption.”