According to the Defense Department (DoD) Deputy CIO for Information Enterprise Peter Ranks, cloud computing is the foundation to unlock the full potential of technological advances for the department.

Speaking at Unisys’ Smart 2020 event today, Ranks highlighted cloud computing systems’ ability to better build and deploy operating software which he hopes will improve agility.

“The thing I want from out of cloud, the thing that I want to have stronger, is speed,” Ranks said. “I want better software in the hands of the warfighter faster.”

To illustrate getting software out to the warfighter more quickly, Ranks shared an anecdote about reading a Tesla blog post. He said the post detailed that if you bought a Tesla Model Three car in 2017, it’s not the same car. That 2017 vehicle has received 124 software updates since delivery.

“Some of those things are bug fixes, but some of them are improved braking, improved deceleration, improved detection of obstacles around you,” Ranks explained. “So everything from squeezing more out of that modular platform to fixings things that should have been there in production happens over the air.”

Ranks said that he would like DoD to be able to have similar capabilities at some point because even minor software updates on aircrafts or other vessels don’t happen for years after they’re deployed. While Ranks mentioned that there are some areas where this can’t be the case, he did say that responding in real time to challengers in the field of battle by providing warfighters with updates is essential and new technologies will power these capabilities.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.