Dave Levy leads the U.S. government, nonprofit and healthcare businesses at Amazon Web Services (AWS). Prior to joining AWS in 2017, he led Apple’s U.S. government business. He also serves as Chair of the Space and Procurement council for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on the boards for the Professional Services Council and Fairview Medical, and on the Innovation and Research Board for Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Part of successful leadership starts with listening. Just prior to the pandemic, I set out on a 100-day listening tour to hear directly from federal agencies about their aspirations, their challenges and what would make a difference in accomplishing their missions. Two themes repeatedly emerged.
First was the challenge of keeping up with so many transformational technologies, such as machine learning, flexible databases and computing at the edge. Second was the ongoing imperative to train and empower federal workforces — and get them and their agency partners foundationally grounded in cloud and emerging technologies.
The world of cloud computing has grown explosively in the 15 years since Amazon launched its Simple Storage Service and Elastic Compute Cloud. It’s not just the massive amount of cloud infrastructure that’s been built; it’s also the accumulated development of high-performing, rapidly-deployable services now available to enterprises.
However, many organizations, including most federal agencies, lack the know-how, skill and experience to take fuller and faster advantage of the cloud’s evolving capabilities.
To help our customers stay ahead of the technology learning curve, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is committed to putting our unrivaled experience, expertise and innovation to work to help agencies and their partners better understand the art of the possible with cloud computing. We’re also committed to helping our customers train and expand a new generation of employees who can use those skills to innovate faster and improve the delivery of their missions.
The power of experience
On the first front, it is our hard-earned belief that there is no compression algorithm for experience in cloud computing. AWS was born not only out of the wellspring of clever engineering, but from the more fundamental desire to develop services that make sense for our customers — either by building for them, inventing with them, or inventing on their behalf.
This proven experience is why government agencies trust AWS to handle their most sensitive workloads. We offer federal government customers two AWS GovCloud (US) Regions, designed to allow U.S. government agencies and contractors to move sensitive workloads to the cloud by addressing their specific regulatory and compliance requirements. Many regulated industries, including the defense industrial base, have also put their confidence in AWS GovCloud (US). AWS GovCloud (US) helps federal and state government agencies manage and analyze vast amounts of data securely — from sensitive patient medical information to export trade data to “controlled unclassified information” (a.k.a. Impact Level 5) data at the Department of Defense.
AWS continues to lead the way in developing, or co-developing, new and innovative cloud-based products and services — much of which can be seen in action at our AWS re:Invent and government sector events. Our team is driving advances in everything from the latest in Kubernetes containers; to high-performance flexible databases; to our pioneering work in AI — from the machine learning layer to cognitive applications like Alexa. We’re also bringing greater compute and storage capabilities to the edge, with devices like AWS Snowball, which promises to revolutionize the types of IT services available to our nation’s warfighters and the global government workforce.
Just as important as having the broadest and deepest assortment of on-demand IT and data management services is AWS’s wealth of experience. Our experts continue to bring that experience to federal agencies, to help them experiment, iterate and innovate with cloud solutions and do so quickly and effectively.
The need for training
We’re also committed to expanding the availability of cloud technology training. We want to make sure the barriers are as low as possible for our customers and our partners to access the cloud services they need. That’s why, at re:Invent 2020, we announced that by 2025 AWS will help 29 million people globally grow their technical skills with free cloud computing skills training.
Our commitment to training drove us to develop a large organization dedicated to providing training and certification tailored for the U.S. government. We’re continuing to expand a cafeteria-style curriculum to meet a variety of skill levels and learning goals that support agencies and their workforces.
As cloud computing becomes more ubiquitous, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the potential of the cloud is not in the technology or apps themselves; it’s in how the cloud is harnessed and utilized to help organizations fulfill their missions more effectively. AWS stands ready to help federal agencies and their partners by leveraging our unrivaled experience to support workforce development and mission delivery.