Army to launch $1B cloud contract in fiscal 2023

Raj Iyer speaks at the 2022 Public Sector Innovation Summit. (FedScoop)

The Army will soon be kicking off a roughly $1 billion contract vehicle to support its hybrid cloud development, its chief information officer announced Tuesday.

The Enterprise Application Migration and Modernization contract (EAMM) will be a roughly $1 billion multi-award, multi-vendor effort that is set to kick off in the third quarter of fiscal 2023, CIO Raj Iyer revealed Tuesday at the annual conference of the Association of the United States Army.

“This is going to become the easy button for the Army to actually move to the cloud,” Iyer told reporters during a media roundtable.

Currently, he said, if a command wants to move to the cloud, there is no single contract they can use. They have to shop around, go into multiple contracting centers and find the right vehicle to get them there, which can take months. Plus, by the time they get to that point in the fiscal budget process, they might not have money anymore.

The EAMM vehicle intends to change that, Iyer said, aiming for four weeks to award a task order.

The Army’s Enterprise Cloud Management Agency will operate the procurement, through which it will essentially hold the hands of commands looking for a better mechanism to get to the cloud.

“It’s no longer just telling the commands, ‘Hey you got to go figure it out.’ We’re really holding their hand to help them migrate their applications in the cloud, all the way from architecting it, working through, migrating the data, the contract vehicle and so on,” Iyer said.

Despite the Department of Defense’s forthcoming cloud vehicle, the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) – which was designed to replace the maligned Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) – Iyer said the Army will need both.

“JWCC will be an avenue for DOD to actually procure, compute and store directly from the cloud service providers like the Amazons and the Googles of the world,” he said. “What EAMM does is [it’s] the vehicle to actually modernize your application, get it to be cloud native and then migrate it to the cloud. You’re going to need both … We need better buying power through consolidation of our requirements.”

Since JWCC isn’t awarded yet, despite leaders saying it is on track for a December award, Iyer said the Army needs something right now.

“We will look at JWCC as a potential opportunity to leverage that. But because it hasn’t been awarded yet, we don’t know what the rates are and what the discounts are,” Iyer said. “But clearly for us in the Army, if there’s another vehicle out there that offers greater discounts, we will absolutely use JWCC.”

Divesting NIPRNet

Iyer also said the Army is planning a divestiture of its unclassified network, the Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet), by fiscal 2017.

This is due, in part, to the fact that the Defense Information Systems Agency is sunsetting its Joint Regional Security Stacks, which were essentially routers and switches that existed at installations.

Replacing that with more infrastructure at the installation level will be time-consuming and expensive, Iyer said, calling that not a viable path for the Army.  

But additionally, the Army believes as it moves to the cloud, it does not want to be bogged down by additional infrastructure to provide its personnel — including Guard and Reserve — better access to email and services.

“We have built some tremendous complexity into this network and if you look at how the Guard and Reserve struggle to get access to the network today, they got to go to an armory or a reserve center to go and get access because of how we have built a network over the years,” Iyer said. “With all of our applications now moving to the cloud and Army 365 and Google Workspace that we have now also implemented, all of these cloud-based solutions now mean that you no longer need to have access to a physical wired network somewhere to access your data. The intent is to really get to bringing any device that you have to be able to access your data from any network. That includes any Wi-Fi hotspot and especially at armories and reserve centers. We are trying to kill the wired network and moving to Wi-Fi and 5G.”

The Army recently launched a Google Workspace initiative allowing email access to a large portion of personnel that was slated to lose access.

Iyer noted that NIPRNet isn’t completely going away. There will likely still be some mission-critical, sensitive activities that will remain on it. The Army is conducting assessments to see what missions will need it.