New DOD CIO Dana Deasy: ‘Cloud is a brilliant opportunity to re-engineer’

Dana Deasy while CIO of JPMorgan Chase (Twitter)

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With the Pentagon in the midst of a full-on push to the cloud, new Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy is touting it as an unparalleled chance to “re-engineer” the way the military does IT.

Deasy, the former CIO of JPMorgan Chase responsible for transitioning the international investment bank to the cloud, said Thursday at the AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium “this is the most phenomenal opportunity I think we’ve ever experienced, as technical folks, to be able to look at your legacy estate and say this is a brilliant opportunity to re-engineer.”

“Cloud allows you to do amazing things you simply haven’t been able to do historically — the idea of just self-healing, awareness, the attributions of being able to get more services on the fly,” he said. “It gives us as IT professionals a whole new way to operate our estate and build the future of how we want IT to run.”

He did, however, warn that cloud is iterative and that “this is not a case of you’re trying to lift out of your old world and you’re suddenly trying to drop into some new world.”

Deasy’s comments on cloud came in the context of the Pentagon’s landmark acquisition of an enterprisewide commercial cloud service through the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud program. The request for proposals for the potentially multibillion-dollar, single-award contract should drop any day now.

Just eight days on the job as the new CIO and in his first public speaking engagement before industry, Deasy didn’t reveal much in specific on what he plans to do in the role. But he did talk about how his past working with innovation in the private sector may shape his time at the Pentagon.

“People always think when you use the term innovation, we’re always talking about something that is brand new, bleeding edge, maybe never been done or we want to be early adopters of,” Deasy said. “And yes we have that. We’re going to be looking at big data and machine learning and artificial intelligence and cloud and all the things you would expect to hear me say today. But I also always remind people that innovation is sometimes taking what you have and how do you make it better?”

On top of that, he’ll use the mission of the new National Defense Strategy as a guidepost. It’s that mission — and the commitment to it he’s seen around the department — that drew him out of retirement to accept the CIO role, he said.

“One of the things you always want to do as a leader is you want to be able to come in and you want to be able to give people focus, and I realize that’s not the issue here,” Deasy said. “Yes, there maybe needs to be some reorganization, we may need some different restructuring. But why people are here, I have to say that’s been the thing that’s delighted me most. Everybody is crystal clear on the focus of the mission.”

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Cloud, Dana Deasy, Department of Defense (DOD), IT Modernization, Military, Pentagon
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