DOD CIO slows down JEDI cloud acquisition

Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy has hit the pause button on the massive JEDI cloud request for proposal as he directs staff to compile a comprehensive review.

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The Pentagon's top tech official hit the pause button on the controversial Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud acquisition.

Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy said the organization's warfighter cloud program acquisition was undergoing a "full top-down, bottom-up review" and that there was no rush on releasing a final request for proposal that was expected in May.

During a keynote speech at Defense Systems Summit July 11, Deasy said one of his first directives after taking office in May was telling staff to "pause" on JEDI.

Deasy was tapped to lead DOD's cloud initiatives in June.

"Since arriving, I've said everybody pause. This is not about making a certain date to get an RFP out," he said.

Deasy wouldn't divulge a date but said "we're not a long ways off; we have a bit more work to do before it is released."

He's seeking "an RFP that's truly comprehensive, is clear, and is written in a way that will maximize reponses -- and frankly -- is written in a way that truly represents what any smart intelligent company in private industry would do in seeking to put an enterprise cloud in place."

Deasy said DOD will continue to deploy a "multicloud, multivendor environment" over time, but the current enterprise cloud environment was "disjointed."

"We operate with multiple clouds today, but our clouds' capabilities are disparate and disjointed. We don't have a true enterprise capability that will deliver the efficiencies and the scale that the department needs," he said.

A true enterprise cloud, Deasy said, "should allow us to be flexible in deciding where to place workloads and the continuous continuity for all those workloads," and integrate with cloud aware applications.

There also needs to be "consistent infrastructure for managing both classified and unclassified data" and the ability to scale infrastructure as a service, and platform as a service.

It needs to have common governance, rules of the road and robust security. And it needs to be a platform that encourages an enterprise approach to developing cloud aware applications.

Ethical AI

Deasy outlined several other priorities for his office, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and space, particularly modernizing command and control systems.

On AI, he said, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), which launched in June and sits under the CIO office, will aim to organize capability, recruit technical talent, educate the enterprise, communicate with industry, and foster innovations.

JAIC is expected to begin several initiatives in its first months as well as take over the controversial Project Maven. (Google decided not to renew its contract with the program after employees protested concerns that developed technology could be used to kill.)

Deasy looked to address those concerns, saying JAIC will include "ethics, humanitarian considerations and both short term and long term AI safety."