The Department of the Air Force (USAF) wants to become a “cloud-first” agency and is committed to making continued investments in cloud computing and migration, according to USAF Chief Technology Officer Jay Bonci.

The department’s commitment to be a “cloud-first” agency “stems from this need to be durable, adaptable, and always connected because our systems are so spread out,” Bonci said during a live-streamed event on Dec. 14 hosted by C4ISRNET.

Bonci explained that the service branch’s transition to the cloud began as a cost-efficient strategy in the move away from data centers, but said that is no longer the case.

“For us, we have to think about cloud as being a part of a resilience baseline, and to change the message from a cost-saving-type message to one of agility and resilience,” Bonci said.

Among its cloud efforts, the USAF is investigating how it can benefit and utilize the Pentagon’s recent $9 billion cloud-computing deal with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle.

In addition, the USAF has begun to make plans for a follow-on contract to the previously established Cloud One program. The Cloud One platform, which was launched just a few years ago, is the USAF’s cloud hosting and service platform that features assets from big-name players in the industry.

“On the cloud front, one of our biggest wins is the launch of the Cloud One platform,” Bonci said. “The platform has been primarily focused on a platform as-a-service baseline; refactoring apps to take advantage of the platform as a service, and in so doing, it has cleaned up a lot of technical debt.”

The department has teased the possible launch of a successor to the Cloud One platform – called Cloud One Next. In an early November request for information, the department solicited insight from industry on a possible follow-on contract program.

Specifically, it asked for input on how companies would manage and update Cloud One taking into consideration “recent government leadership direction,” Bonci explained. Submissions from industry are currently under review.

“We’re looking at a couple of different kinds of economic models for how we continue to get cost efficiency and get a scale for how we’re able to get more applications into the cloud, but the focus is going to be on adoption,” Bonci said, further explaining the USAF’s cloud strategy moving forward.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.