Observations on Army Cloud Investment in FY 2019

Posted by Alexander Rossino on April 24, 2018

Every Spring, Deltek’s Federal Market Analysis team takes a thorough look at the Department of Defense’s Procurement and Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation budget requests for the fiscal year to come. Using a set of keywords, FMA identifies programs that invest in certain technologies of importance to the contractor community. These technology “verticals” include cloud computing, big data analytics, cybersecurity/weaponry, and others. FMA’s analysis of the DOD’s fiscal 2019 budget request is now complete, revealing that the United States Army intends to spend $164M on programs which use cloud technology in one way or another.

Identifying the specific cloud spend in each program is impossible due to the vague way that the Army and DOD report budget request data. Readers should keep in mind, therefore, that the numbers presented here are the requested budgets for programs that plan to use cloud technology for a specific purpose (e.g., storage, testing, or delivering a capability, etc.). The numbers presented here should not be considered the Army’s entire cloud budget for FY 2019. They are best thought of as a signpost indicating how and where Army program offices intend to use cloud and the potential amounts they could spend on it.

Largest Programs

The table below lists the Army programs with a cloud component that FMA could identify arranged largest to smallest in dollar terms. The totals shown are from the Procurement and RDT&E budget requests, meaning that the work involved could be new and available to contractors if a contract for it is competed.

Summaries of Top 5 Programs

Environment O&M for Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE) ($13.4M for RDT&E): FY 2019 funding continues the engineering of emulated environments and the PCTE hybrid cloud environment for cyber range, team/group, and force level training events. Emulated environments include blue, red, green, and gray networks. These environments provide the maneuver space and training grounds for Cyber Mission Forces (CMF). FY 2019 funds virtual connections in the PCTE that enable the CMF trainee to choose the maneuver environment during training events.

Physical & Virtual Connectivity for the Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE) ($10.5M for RDT&E): FY 2019 funding builds on and refines connectivity to the PCTE’s hybrid cloud environment while expanding access to multiple training facilities within specific geographic locations. Current connections to the CMF sites will be optimized to reduce latency and efficiency on existing persistent backbone transport bandwidth. This will include providing network nodes at training sites and cyber ranges directly supporting PCTE.

Personnel Automation Systems – West Point ($10.4M for Procurement): FY 2019 Procurement dollars support the transition of U.S. Military Academy personnel systems, including email, and migration from a local Microsoft Exchange Platform, to a FedRAMP certified cloud service provider.

Synthetic Training Environment Acceleration ($9.9M for RDT&E): This effort matures and demonstrates technologies for a Synthetic Training Environment – a single, interconnected training system for live, virtual, constructive, and gaming domains, or in all four domains simultaneously. FY 2019 funding will optimize the use of distributed computing and cloud infrastructures to demonstrate dynamic content updates (e.g., terrain) and point-of-need training, including the maturation of human-machine interfaces.

Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase for the Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (AVCATT) Program ($9.2M for RDT&E): FY 2019 funding enables the replacement of AVCATT and Non-Rated Crew Member Manned Module (NCM) 3 Image Generators with next generation, game based, cloud-delivered rendering technology. Funding also permits the modification of existing AVCATT and NCM3 software baselines and data products (17 terrain databases and hundreds of 3D visual models) to accommodate new image generator technology.

Concluding Thought

Training is the central theme to the proposed cloud work in FY 2019’s Army budget request. Since being designated the DOD’s executive agent for implementing a Persistent Cyber Training Environment several years ago, the Army has jumped into using cloud-based capabilities with both feet. It has developed cloud-based capabilities to such an extent already that the Army is now using cloud simulations for all types of training scenarios. This kind of work is often overlooked in comparison to slower manifesting promises by Army officials to make greater use of cloud computing for basic business capabilities, but it demonstrates the multitude of uses to which DOD customers can and will put cloud in the future.

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