Navy Unveils New Policy on Cloud Computing

April 9, 2013

The benefits of cloud computing extend well beyond the private sector. Recently, the Department of Defense has begun an initiative to move more United States military data into the cloud, and it now appears that movement is underway. Forbes reported that the U.S. Navy has unveiled a new cloud computing policy, and the military branch is looking to improve effectiveness and cost-efficiency in its IT practices.

The Department of the Navy (DON) put out a memo explaining the changes, saying that cloud computing solutions would help the department increase efficiency and achieve necessary cost savings.

One major topic of debate among naval officials in recent months has been the decision between public and private cloud solutions. The DON's recent memo explained that after much deliberation over the type of data stored, the costs of different cloud servers and their security requirements, the department ultimately decided to go with a commercial provider.

"The money has been removed," said Terry Halvorsen, the DON's chief information officer. "We need to specifically look at IT as an enabler and also look at the business processes that, in combination, will lead to cost savings."

This news comes on the heels of a Defense Science Board task force report in January that called for clear security mandates governing cloud use. According to Fierce Government IT, the report said that the Department of Defense could use such strategies as hypervisor attestation to assure that networks haven't been corrupted, along with cryptographic sealing and "strong virtual machine isolation." The task force ordered that at-risk data be stored in encrypted form and protected with hardware-attested keys.

The task force also asked the DoD to establish a central repository of documentation on the transition to cloud computing, including data on the costs of systems before, during and after the process of switching over to the cloud.

Cost-consciousness is an especially important issue for the Navy in 2013, as the sequester has brought about deep cuts in military spending. Business Insider recently recounted the specific items being slashed from the Navy's budget – carrier air wing two was shut down completely in April, and at least six other ships had their deployments canceled. All in all, $10 billion in cuts were projected.

The Navy is looking to streamline everything it can, making operations more efficient across the board. Cloud computing can definitely help with that.