There will be 14 early adopters of the Pentagon’s controversial new enterprisewide general-purpose cloud, Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy said Dec. 12.
Deasy, speaking at the AFCEA NOVA Air Force IT Day, said parties eyeing a move to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud are U.S. Transportation Command, Special Operations Command, Joint Special Operations Command and the Navy.
“What’s really unique is the variety of the 14 early adopters allows us to test various principles on JEDI from the tactical edge all the way to the top secret — needing to use the cross-domain,” Deasy said. “So we’re going to learn fairly quickly what it takes to actually now go from the strategic vision to the ability to stand it up and to bring it to life.”
Federal Times asked the Department of Defense to provide the other 10 components among the first movers. A DoD spokesperson didn’t immediately respond.
Deasy reiterated what he told Defense News earlier in the week: that the unclassified JEDI environment will be ready in February, with the “secret” environment ready six months after that. There is also no specific timeline for the top-secret environment.
He said that there are meetings every two weeks where the JEDI team discusses the “60 to 70 services” that must be ready to go when the unclassified environment kicks off.
DoD awarded the JEDI contract to Microsoft over Amazon Web Services, which recently filed a protest in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that relied heavily on interference allegations against President Donald Trump. The contract is potentially worth $10 billion over 10 years.
Throughout the entirety of the JEDI procurement, DoD has struggled to dispel the notion that the Pentagon’s only cloud would be JEDI, when in reality the JEDI cloud is just one in a multicloud environment. Deasy took aim at that characterization in his address, highlighting that there are “something like” 10 more cloud contracts out for bids next year.
“The whole reason we started JEDI was we were not short on clouds,” Deasy said. “What we were short of was an enterprise capability ... all the way out to the tactical edge. ... There will always be a need for special-purpose clouds."
Once the JEDI cloud is set up, Deasy said, the next step is to look across the department at the various siloed cloud and ask “do they serve a unique purpose that is truly distinctly different than JEDI? Or is there overlap?” The Pentagon has signaled that it will move 80 percent of its systems to the JEDI cloud.
Consolidation is an option for overlapping clouds, but Deasy said the DoD won’t know what to do specifically with the overlaps until the JEDI cloud is stood up.
The JEDI cloud environment will allow the DoD to significantly reduce the number of clouds it has, which the Congressional Research Services has estimated sits at more than 500. With the JEDI cloud, Deasy’s ready to reduce that number by hundreds.
At the end of the day, “we sure in the heck don’t need 100 clouds, we probably don’t need 50 clouds, but we definitely need more than one or two clouds,” Deasy said.
Mark Pomerleau contributed to this report.
Andrew Eversden covered all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. Beforehand, he reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.