New classified cloud partnership to speed up Lockheed's work with DOD, company says

By Briana Reilly / November 18, 2022 at 3:33 PM

A new partnership between Microsoft and Lockheed Martin that gives the latter classified cloud access will ultimately allow executives to more quickly and cheaply provide solutions to Defense Department customers, the defense prime says.

Announced this week, the three-year framework makes Lockheed “the first non-government entity to independently operate inside the Microsoft Azure Government Secret cloud,” according to a joint press release.

Through the deal, Lockheed said in a statement to Inside Defense, the company will be able to save time in standing up IT infrastructures associated with new classified programs; nix traditional equipment procurement and accreditation processes; and allow executives to replicate known architectures in the cloud environment -- ultimately making it “easier to work with DOD.”

“Fundamentally the cloud collaboration helps LM become more agile and perform work more securely and at lower cost,” the statement added.

Asked about the dollar value of the agreement, Microsoft deferred to Lockheed, which did not provide comment on a figure, saying only in a statement that executives are “committed to investing in the advanced technologies needed to bring 21st century security capabilities to our customers.”

It’s unclear whether Microsoft plans to enter further classified cloud agreements with other defense industry partners. In a statement to Inside Defense addressing that possibility, Microsoft said the focus is currently on supporting Lockheed “to stand up this environment.”

Still, the statement noted the platform is “a potentially replicable” one long-term, which could support the more than 12,000 vendors accredited through the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency program, which Microsoft noted is the same one that is overseeing the Lockheed effort.

The partnership also involves three other lines of effort, among them artificial intelligence and machine learning and simulation capabilities. That category will involve Microsoft’s advanced gaming, exercising, modeling and simulation solutions, as well as Lockheed’s military planning AI, which Lockheed’s statement said would be combined to help DOD wargame and military plan, while digitally validating potential courses of action.

“This will be key to furthering DOD’s vision for joint all domain operations -- they’ll essentially be able to test in the digital environment how assets across domains can work together,” the Lockheed statement said.