Google wins Air Force EITaaS award for IT security

Airmen with the 68th Network Warfare Squadron monitor Air Force communications to analyze disclosures of critical information and perform data loss prevention at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 25, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.)

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The Air Force awarded a $2 million prototype contract to Google for IT and network security services as part of the branch’s larger Enterprise IT-as-a-service (EITaaS) effort.

The contract, which was awarded in December, extends the Air Force’s larger EITaaS push, which includes network-as-a-service, end-user services, and compute and storage.

Through the other transaction agreement contract, Google will also “assess the Air Force’s current enterprise IT landscape and measure the digital experience of Airmen across the Air Force,” according to a news release published Monday. The tech giant will assess how to get the “right data at the right time” to airmen and bring “scalable and secure” networking into the Air Force’s enterprise systems.

“We want to understand how Google provides secure and reliable access to data,” Capt. Trey LaSane, EITaaS project officer in the service’s Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate, said in a press release. “We ultimately want to enable a more secure platform, where we are able to identify users and ensure they have the appropriate permissions to connect them with the data they need.”

On top of this, the Air Force also hopes to work with Google to “develop a plan to potentially integrate its commercial solutions at an Air Force test site, exploring the future viability for innovative solutions across the Air Force enterprise,” the release says.

The EITaaS program is meant to bring in commercial providers to provide basic IT services so that the Air Force can free up airmen for more specialized, cyber-focused network defense and mission assurance. The first OTAs were signed in 2018 to the tune of $127 million, and more have been awarded since then.

Air Force Deputy CIO Bill Marion has long championed the move. 

“We want our airmen transitioning from running email and boxes to focusing on cyberdefense,”  Marion said in 2018. “Every time we move to the cloud, the intent is to free up cyber-operators for the Mission Defense Teams.”

These OTAs are designed to be small experiments, Marion told FedScoop in October, but the hope is that if successful, they will scale into larger contracts that impact the entire Air Force enterprise.

“Everybody wants us to go faster, and we want to go faster, but if you go too big, big-bang IT typically fails,” he said.

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Air Force, Bill Marion, enterprise IT as a service (EITaaS), Google, other transaction agreements (OTAs)
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