Danielle Metz, deputy CIO for information enterprise in the Defense Department’s (DoD) CIO Office, said the Pentagon is nearing completion of a plan launched in 2018 to migrate nearly 1,000 systems to cloud-based services and shutter another 60 data centers.

Completing all of the objectives under the plan will spill over into Fiscal Year 2022, she said, from the stated goal of finishing up by the end of the current fiscal year.

Speaking today at an event organized by ATARC, Metz said that DoD has shuttered more than 1,400 data centers since 2010, “with hundreds more scheduled to close as systems continue to migrate to more effective, efficient, and secure environments.”

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As part of that effort, Metz said that her office in late 2018 “focused on cloud adoption and data center consolidation with 14 defense agencies and field activities – or as we call them the DAFAs – as part of the DoD’s IT reform activity.” That effort, she said, recognized that “the DoD warfighter requires a rapidly scalable information environment that transforms data into actionable information quickly and efficiently,” but that the then-current environment “was not meeting this need.”

“We started this initiative in earnest, with a goal of moving 960 individual systems to targeted cloud environments, and closing 60 data centers by the fourth quarter” of the current fiscal year, she said.

“Today we have completed 80 percent of our goal on target and have action plans in place to complete the remaining 20 percent by next year,” Metz said.

As a result of efforts to date, Metz said, “the DAFAs now have the ability to leverage modern compute and storage capabilities, and build native apps in the cloud, neither of which were accessible to them, they were bound to their physical data centers.”

IT Portfolio Management

Those efforts, Metz continued, “laid the groundwork to implement IT portfolio management across the department.”

“While portfolio management may sound like a boring back-office process, our goal is to implement an analytic framework that will provide quality actionable information … beyond the DoD CIO to ensure our funding decisions are properly aligned to strategic transformation initiatives across the department,” she said.

“As we embark on executing the department-wide IT portfolio management efforts to optimize our technology capabilities and revitalize our investment planning, it is imperative for us to establish an analytic framework to assess IT investments,” Metz said. “This framework will also ensure we are using quality data to drive decision making and integrate with key DoD business processes to implement and enforce recommendations for optimization and modernization.”

“In doing this, we will enable DoD CIO to track what IT capabilities are noncompliant with policies, strategies, and architectures, what portion of the DoD IT budget is aligned to noncompliant capabilities, and what capabilities are executing modernization plans,” Metz said.

She continued, “We are developing metrics and targets to track the improvement of data sources that are critical to supporting this framework. These metrics will address the data quality of each authoritative data source, the optimization of the data sources themselves, and the interoperability between data sources and other duty platforms.”

“We will then integrate the IT portfolio management process with the DoD budget cycle to ensure that resources reflect IT portfolio management decisions, and that resulting initiatives have the funding they require,” Metz said.

JEDI Update

Elsewhere during her remarks, Metz touched on DoD’s cancellation of its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract process earlier this year, and its work on the new Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract.

She said DoD was “in the process of completing its market research” on the new deal and is “actively pursuing the JWCC contract.” She said DoD intends to make a contract award within the next nine to 12 months.

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