The term “cloud computing” has been floating around the commercial IT sector for a number of years. It describes how large-scale computer infrastructure can tap the power of the Internet to perform complex tasks. Cloud computing allows organizations to save money and increase flexibility by using shared IT resources, such as applications, storage devices, and servers.
The DoD wants to tap into those benefits. In May 5/09 testimony [pdf] before a US House panel, Pentagon cybersecurity official Robert Lentz offered the following prediction about the benefits of cloud computing for DoD:
“A cloud is…an ideal place from which to make capabilities available to the whole enterprise. While, in the DoD, we have encountered challenges moving towards a service-oriented architecture (SOA), in the private sector, companies like Google and Salesforce are basing their business models on an insatiable public hunger for software and applications as a service. Emulating their delivery mechanisms within our own private cloud may be key to how we realize the true potential of net-centricity.”
This article examines the development of cloud computing and how DoD is tapping into that technology for its computer networks, as well as the challenges faced by DoD in its effort:
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded a $31 million contract to a team lead by Lockheed Martin to develop a network protocol to improve the confidentiality, integrity, and security of US military networks.
In developing this new protocol, Lockheed Martin’s team will develop router technologies that include strong authentication and self-configuration capabilities to improve security and bandwidth allocation and lower overall life cycle costs for network management.
Now Softsol Technologies Inc. has received a firm-fixed-price contract for $11 million to transform the business application software using Transactional Object-Oriented Language, to Microsoft’s .NET programming framework. At this time, all funds have been obligated (HQ0013-08-C-0002). For more information please call (703) 604-6566. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Defense Contracting, DBO-CON, in Arlington VA.
On August 4, 2005, DefenseLINK announced that ITT Industries Inc., DBA(Doing Business As) Advanced Engineering & Sciences in Reston, VA won a 10-year, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract with the Defense Information Systems Agency, Joint Spectrum Center. This contract “will provide the Joint Spectrum Center with electromagnetic spectrum engineering services, to include engineering and analysis; information management; standards development and application; measurement, testing, and evaluation; modeling and simulation; research and evaluation of emerging technologies; interference resolution; and ordnance risk assessment.”
What does that mean, why is this award to an ITT-led team important, and who is on the team?
Government Technology Services Inc. in Chantilly, VA received a delivery order amount of $24 million as part of a $126.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for Microsoft select variable software license for the family of existing Microsoft products. Work will be performed in Falls Church, VA and is expected to be complete by May 31, 2008. This was a sole source contract initiated on April 17, 2002 by the Defense Contracting Command in Arlington, VA (DASW01-02-F-1062).
The Army Small Computer Program spent $5 million to purchase 5,000 licenses of ProSight Portfolios and ProSight Fast Track software on April 21, 2005, in order to help implement project portfolio management servicewide. ProSight is compatible with Microsoft Project.
Army Chief Information Officer Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle said he believes the products will help better track the service’s 4,500 systems and better spend its annual IT budget ($6.1 billion requested for FY 2006), becoming the U.S. Army’s system of record for IT investments and systems and helping the service identify inefficient or redundant IT systems or investments.
The U.S. National Science Foundation expects to provide almost $19 million in funding over five years to the TRUST (Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology) consortium. The aim of TRUST’s research is to create new technologies – and perhaps even new social institutions – that will make it possible to build computer software and networks that are inherently secure. “Security” here means not only protection against outside attacks, but also reliability of service and preservation of data.
Academic institutions involved are Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Mills College, San Jose State University, Smith College, Stanford University and Vanderbilt University. Industrial and other partners are Bellsouth, Cisco Systems, ESCHER (a research consortium that includes Boeing, General Motors and Raytheon), Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Qualcomm, Sun Microsystems and Symantec.
Microsoft has just launched a public relations campaign to highlight the role of the company’s products in the military’s data-sharing and network-centric warfare operations. This push is apparently part of their determination to pursue new work in major military programs, including the $10 billion dollar Net-Centric Enterprise Services contract and $2 billion Space Operations Center Weapon System Integrator contract.