Pentagon shifts cloud initiative to new CIO

By Justin Doubleday / June 25, 2018 at 6:00 PM

The Pentagon has shifted responsibility for its enterprise cloud computing initiative to the new chief information officer, as lawmakers raise questions about the acquisition strategy for the U.S. military's enterprise cloud computing program.

Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy is now in charge of DOD's "cloud computing initiative," effective June 22, according to a Pentagon statement. It attributes the announcement to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who last fall established DOD's cloud executive steering group to accelerate the U.S. military's adoption of cloud technologies.

Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord was initially in charge of the group, and Shanahan then shifted that responsibility to Chief Management Officer Jay Gibson in January. Now, the Pentagon's No. 2 is handing the reins to Deasy.

"Under Deasy's leadership, the department will gradually consolidate its disparate networks, data centers and cloud efforts to manage them at the enterprise level," the statement reads. "Different DOD components manage many of the department's networks, data centers and clouds. Consolidating these disparate efforts at the enterprise level will enable the CIO to provide greater security and ensure greater reliability of the department's digital infrastructure, while achieving cost savings."

Deasy joined the Pentagon in May after a long career in the private sector. In his last job as JPMorgan Chase's CIO, Deasy pushed the bank to embrace cloud computing.

In leading DOD's cloud initiative, Deasy will now oversee the JEDI program, which seeks to establish a commercial cloud computing environment to extend from agencies in the United States to warfighters in austere environments abroad.

The JEDI program, however, has come under criticism and scrutiny due to DOD's plans to make just a single award for the potentially 10-year, multibillion-dollar program. The House Appropriations Committee's fiscal year 2019 defense spending bill would fence funds for the JEDI program and other cloud efforts until DOD gives lawmakers more information on its cloud computing strategy.

The Pentagon had planned to release the JEDI request for proposals in May and award the contract by September, but the RFP's release has been delayed indefinitely.