USTRANSCOM's cloud computing transition enhances cyber processes, protection
By Michael P. Kleiman
/ Published October 25, 2017
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- U.S. Transportation Command is the first Defense Department organization to initiate migration of its cyber domain to a commercial cloud provider to improve mission assurance, while strengthening information technology efficiency and effectiveness.
Last month, the first wave of five USTRANSCOM information technology systems transitioned to a commercial cloud-based solution.
Relying heavily on the transportation industry to help accomplish its mission, USTRANSCOM faces significant challenges to provide transportation service providers timely information to carry out its tasks. As a result of this, and, in addition to the threat of a cyber-domain attack and the command’s aging electronic infrastructure, Gen. Darren W. McDew, USTRANSCOM commander, subsequently directed the organization’s move to the cloud earlier this year.
The move will, among other things, allow USTRANSCOM to streamline and strengthen its security when working with industry partners while allowing them quicker access to vital transportation information.
In February, the command’s Cloud Center of Excellence stood up. Three months later, the CCoE, in collaboration with the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, which underwrites pilot contracts for commercial innovation solving DoD problems in under 90 days, and the Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, executed a contract for a prototype cloud-migration solution with REAN Cloud LLC, Herndon, Virginia. The contract established a USTRANSCOM-protected enclave within a government-authorized cloud environment.
“The command’s transition to a cloud-based solution not only enhances mission assurance, but controls IT infrastructure costs and strengthens cyber agility, resiliency and innovation,” said Lt. Col. John Riester, deputy chief, Enterprise Infrastructure Portfolio and Support Division, USTRANSCOM’s Command, Control, Communications and Cyber Systems Directorate. “This transformational move to the cloud also allows us to keep pace with industry.”
In addition, by the end of the year, the CCoE will migrate capability onto a cloud-native platform and transition 22 applications to a commercial cloud service provider including 19 systems associated with one of its three components, the U.S. Army’s Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command collocated at Scott Air Force Base. All other USTRANSCOM programs will migrate to the contracted commercial cloud provider by July 2018.
“In transitioning to proven commercial cloud technology, USTRANSCOM pays only for services used, while the commercial cloud service provider manages and adjusts the command’s flexible IT footprint in minutes and with near-perfect reliability,” stated Wes Schooley, chief, Enterprise Engineering Branch, Command, Control, Communications and Cyber Systems Directorate. “Acting as the pathfinder, USTRANSCOM leads the DoD in cloud migration, demonstrating increased transparency, risk tolerance, experimentation and innovation.”
Observing its 30th anniversary Oct. 1, 2017, USTRANSCOM continues to answer the nation’s call - whether delivering an immediate and decisive force when and where needed, assuring unrivaled global expeditionary capability, and, now with its transition to the cloud, setting the precedent for other DoD and federal government agencies to follow.