• The Defense Department’s new JEDI cloud platform will support warfighters on the tactical edge. U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 prepare for refueling during Exercise Yuma Horizon 19 at Imperial County Air Field, California, last January to maintain squadron capability in a forward-operating environment. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Seth Rosenberg
     The Defense Department’s new JEDI cloud platform will support warfighters on the tactical edge. U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 prepare for refueling during Exercise Yuma Horizon 19 at Imperial County Air Field, California, last January to maintain squadron capability in a forward-operating environment. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Seth Rosenberg

Defense Department Kicks Off JEDI Cloud Platform

December 17, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
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The military's cloud environment will roll out initially by mid-February


Between now and Valentine’s Day, the U.S. Defense Department will begin to build out its unclassified department-wide cloud platform, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud, known as JEDI. And approximately six months after that, DOD will stand up its secret cloud environment, followed later by the top secret cloud, all part of JEDI, reported Dana Deasy, Defense Department chief information officer, at the AFCEA Nova Chapter’s Air Force IT Day in Arlington, Va., last Thursday.

“You pretty much would have to been sleeping under a rock if you haven't heard about JEDI by now,” Deasy said. “The good news is after a very long, lengthy process, we have gotten to point of making an award, and that took place not too long ago. Yesterday was our JEDI kickoff, which was a significant milestone in that it was the official start of ‘Now let's get on to actually building out our environments.’”

In late October, the department issued a 10-year, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to Microsoft with a ceiling of $10 billion to provide the JEDI platform.

“What is unique about this [cloud] environment is it is an unclassified, secret, top secret, forward tactical manned data center and a forward tactical edge unit that the actual individual warfighter can use, on CONUS and OCONUS, with complete cross domain amongst all three of the classifications,” Deasy stated. “That is what JEDI has always been visioned to do. That's what makes it a unique platform.”

Deasy explained that they are depending on more than a baker’s dozen of early adopters of the JEDI cloud—including the U.S. Transportation Command; the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM); the Joint Special Operations Command; and several Navy programs—to help test out the system with their particular requirements.

“We have 14 early adopters that have unique missions that are more than just wanting to use the JEDI for what I'll call base, compute and storage capacity, but want to do real unique platform for service opportunities on top of that,” he stated.

DOD officials also are preparing approximately 60 to 70 cloud-related services that “have to be available day one in mid-February,” the CIO added. “The other thing that now kicks off is something that I have been excited about wanting to do ever since we started talking about JEDI. It is an environment that finally allows us to get to the Promised Land of a true DevOps [development operations] and allows us to start to build an end-to-end tool chain of a whole new way of how we want to build software going forward.”

As such, another big deliverable that the Defense Department will supply in 2020 is the structure of how the military will perform DevOps supported by the JEDI cloud, Deasy explained. For a modern way of supplying software, the department will look across all the services to the existing software factories that are performing development security operations, or DevSecOps, in creating software.

The JEDI platform will also play a key role in aiding improved data management and advanced use of artificial intelligence, the CIO noted.

“Now that we have JEDI awarded, one of the earliest adopters of JEDI will be JAIC [the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center],” he said. “They are one of the ones we plan on having up on this as soon as possible. JAIC has actually already delivered more than its first, second and third iterations of its predictive maintenance algorithms to SOCOM and is now at the point of starting to discuss how we can hand that off to the services to continue the use of that.

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