Army cloud agency expanding its team

Joint Service members and civilians participate in Exercise Diamond Saber at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, on June 26, 2019. It's the Army’s only large-scale financial management exercise. (U.S. Army / Russell Gamache)

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The Army’s newly dubbed Enterprise Cloud Management Agency (EMCA) is growing its cloud operations team and extending new partnerships as the service tries to implement cloud-based tech.

The growth of the cloud team comes a year into ECMA’s operation and as it just recently gained new authorities as a field agency. It’s unclear exactly how many more cloud operators the agency hopes to add, but doing so will play a key role in supporting the deployment of a new tactical cloud network and other modernization initiatives, Director Paul Puckett said during an AFCEA webinar Wednesday.

“We are leaning in to expand our cloud operations team and really try to turn that into the new normal,” Puckett said, adding that the team will expand work on things like security and tactical deployments.

The ECMA has also expanded its partnerships across the Army, working closely with regional cyber centers, program executive offices and support commands, like the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command. Puckett said he meets weekly with other tech leaders across the service to work cohesively under the Army’s cloud modernization strategy.

“There is nothing that one does that the other is not involved in,” he said of the partnerships ECMA has formed.

Having a larger team for cloud operations means that the Army can take a more central approach to its cloud modernization. Before ECMA was stood up as the Enterprise Cloud Management Office in 2019, Army offices faced the daunting process of migrating their data to the cloud on their own, Puckett said. The shift is from the “thousand flowers blooming” approach to a more centralized push that can orchestrate a more common cloud architecture for the Army to work within.

Other impacts of ECMA’s growth will be seen in expanded environments for tech-related initiatives. The Army’s new software factory has soldiers code within a cloud-based environment supported by the ECMA, for example.

Other projects that straddle the worlds between technology and tactical use are also moving to the cloud. Along with partners like the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), the ECMA helped launch the recent “Tactical Cloud Infrastructure.” It’s the cloud version of the former “Tactical Server Infrastructure” that used on-premise and physical stacks to get compute at the edge.

But not everything has moved to the cloud as bandwidth in austere environments is limited. Puckett said the Army is working to “figure out what data needs to be local” and what can be stored in the cloud.

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Army, Cloud, IT Modernization, Paul Puckett
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