Rep. Jim Langevin, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems said today that current debates surrounding the Defense Department’s ongoing migration to cloud-based systems need to proceed further toward security and optimization topics in preparation for reaching the eventual goal of a DoD enterprise cloud.

The congressman emphasized changing the focus of debate in an address at General Dynamics Information Technology’s Emerge 2021 event on defense cloud. Rep. Langevin holds a particularly important role for DoD oversight, as his subcommittee has jurisdiction over Pentagon policy for IT acquisition, spectrum, AI, cybersecurity, and operations, among others.

He chronicled some of DoD’s cloud migration efforts to date, and said he appreciated the efforts of the agency’s IT leaders in making that progress, but emphasized that the Pentagon needs to accelerate cloud adoption and confront a host of other related challenges.

“There’s a lot that the DoD can do now to continue advancing objectives related to IT reform, AI, data standards … security, workforce, and cultural change,” he said, in line with his subcommittee’s mission of driving and accelerating technological change across the Defense Department.

“I’ll be paying close attention to cloud strategy, digital modernization efforts, and the extent to which the department is appropriately funding and prioritizing cloud migration,” the congressman said.

“There is a lot more to it than simply migrating to the cloud, we need to be thinking and discussing how to secure a common environment,” he said. “Security must be a forethought rather than an afterthought,” and integrated into all aspects of IT, he said.

As a part of what he called a “robust debate” in Congress over DoD direction and oversight, he said “we need to be asking questions on zero trust architecture, and security automation, and how to secure classified data in cloud environments. We then need to look into possibilities for serverless computing and invest in research that will lead to more efficient and flexible network traffic management.”

“We should also examine which acquisition practices or organizational structures hinder wider adoption, and faster migration,” so that DoD can work on data standards in advance of adopting an enterprise cloud, Rep. Langevin said.

“All future cloud plans need to account for an eventual DoD enterprise cloud,” he said. “These challenges and the case for change are happening right now – not tomorrow, and not a few years,” he said. “That’s why we want to expand the discussion beyond migration, and into security, governance, management, and optimization.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.