Navy, Air Force to spend $180M on commercial cloud services

The Navy awarded a nearly $100 million contract for commercial cloud services as a scene setter for its Next Generation Enterprise Network Recompete (NGEN-R).

The Air Force wants to spent $87 million on a contract to test out the enterprise IT-as-a-service concept with AT&T using an other transaction agreement (OTA).

And the Defense Department continues to give vendors more time to respond to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) solicitation.

These are just the latest examples of the fast and furious changes coming to how DoD wants to modernize its technology infrastructure.

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Let’s begin at the end first, DoD announced Sept. 24 that it was extending the deadline for JEDI solicitations to Oct. 12, but only if vendors submited their proposals in person between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. EST and only on DVD.

This is the second extension of the due date for JEDI proposals.

Additionally, the JEDI procurement technically is on hold from an award perspective until the Government Accountability Office decides the pre-award protest by Oracle. Oracle filed a second amendment to its protest on Sept. 6.

Navy hires CSRA to help move to cloud

In the meantime, both the Navy and Air Force are moving forward with commercial cloud contracts.

The Navy awarded CSRA, a General Dynamics Information Technology company, a five-year $95 million blanket purchase agreement through the General Services Administration’s Schedule 70 vehicle for commercial cloud service providers.

“This award is another step in the DON’s effort to design, transfer, host, operate, and sustain IT capabilities in the cloud to the maximum extent possible,” the Navy said in a release. “This BPA aligns to the Department of Defense cloud strategy that supports a multi-vendor, multi-cloud ecosystem, offering Navy customers ‘Fit-for-Purpose’ options that will meet their specialized requirements. Under its cloud-first policy, this enterprise cloud agreement will allow the Navy to more quickly access commercial cloud solutions.”

Under the deal, CSRA will give the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS), which acts as Navy’s program manager for its cloud broker effort, and the five cloud broker systems commands access to Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon Web Services commercial cloud offerings.

“Success with our cloud approach is realized when the individual cloud brokers across the enterprise are able to deliver cloud services at speed to meet the needs of all our Navy consumers,” said Ruth Youngs Lew, the program executive officer for EIS, in the release. “The enterprise cloud agreement is part of a growing portfolio cloud services available to our Navy cloud brokers and their customers. This fits with our goal of accelerating the adoption of cloud technologies in order to deliver greater capacity which is critical to maintaining our technological advantage”

The Navy received four bids for the task order, and given its size and the competitive nature of commercial cloud across DoD, don’t be surprised if there’s a protest.

The BPA also is a complementary piece to the NGEN-R effort. Part of what the Navy wants to do is use these commercial cloud services for data and applications that currently reside in the current Navy-Marine Corps Intranet.

Air Force uses OTA to test out EITaaS

The Air Force agreed to test out the enterprise IT-as-a-service approach with AT&T under an OTA.

“This agreement provides for experimentation of a secure, reliable, measured, commercial data and voice network in order to enable access to Department of Defense data and applications from DoD facilities, as well as enable access for mobile and remotely located users,” the contract announcement states.

Under the OTA, AT&T will pilot this approach at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado; Offutt AFB, Nebraska; and Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2021.

The Air Force released a request for information for EITaaS last November where it said eventually the services would need to be delivered over the service’s unclassified and classified networks to 800,000 users spanning 180 sites worldwide.

“This initiative will shift the burden of providing IT at military bases to commercial providers who can do it more efficiently and upgrade more agilely than traditional Defense procurement,” said Bill Roper in March 2018, when he was the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. “Though this should be simple and straightforward, it is this type of initiative that often struggles in a one-size-fits-all process used for all things from books to bombers. Flexibility in the new acquisition authorities makes common sense endeavors in IT easier to jumpstart.”

The OTA with AT&T continues DoD’s aggressive path to using this approach.