Members of the Marine Corps information technology, cyber security and communications infrastructure community joined together at the Marine Corps Systems Command’s Cloud Technology Summit to discuss cloud migration Feb. 11 at Alfred M. Gray Marine Corps Research Center aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.
Kenneth Bible, C4 deputy director/deputy chief information officer at Marine Corps Headquarters kicked off the summit discussing the vision for Marine Corps cloud implementation.
“It’s not about IT, it’s about command and control,” he said. “It’s about warfighting. We want to provide access to information wherever we need it; even to the tactical edge.”
The Marine Corps cloud computing approach aims to provide Marines in the field access to applications and data via a shared pool of configurable resources that can rapidly be provisioned and released with reduced management effort. Doing so will enhance operational effectiveness with a more knowledge-based force, increase efficiencies to reduce costs, and enable seamless secure command and control capabilities for decision makers.
The focus of the Cloud Technology Summit was to identify key elements of the cloud strategy necessary to drive the process of embracing the cloud. The group discussed decision frameworks and processes to evaluate cloud computing. They also addressed solutions for evolving governance, management, security and application plans.
“The exciting thing is that we have everything we need to implement the cloud, we just have to orchestrate it correctly,” said Bible. “We don’t need new requirements; what we need is a common vision of what we want cloud approaches to provide.”
How will the Marine Corps do that? Daniel Corbin, program manager for MCSC’s Information Systems and Infrastructure is working closely with Bible to develop the enterprise architecture necessary for implementation. Two major enterprise architecture initiatives are already active; the shift to Windows 10, and data center and circuit consolidation.
Corbin said he is confident cloud computing could be successful for the Corps. It isn’t the physical or fiscal challenges that concern him.
“Really, the biggest challenge we face is a change in culture,” said Corbin. “That shift in how we do things is much harder than the actual implementation of cloud computing.”
Bible said he understands the cultural caution. However, he emphasized the benefits of cloud implementation.
“By adopting cloud computing we lighten the load of our Marines,” he said. “By automating a lot of processes and moving away from the need to carry the current physical load of IT equipment, we not only enable the fleet to be more agile, we empower them to operate autonomously without such a heavy need for specialized support.”