AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Event Recap – Enabling the Warfighter: Bringing Cloud to the Tactical Edge

This week, we hosted Enabling the Warfighter: Bringing Cloud to the Tactical Edge, a webcast focused on how cloud computing is more than just storing the Pentagon’s vast quantities of data; it’s providing warfighters with the capabilities necessary to dominate the modern battlefield.

Adoption of cloud computing technologies is critical to maintaining our military’s technological advantage. Our nation’s warfighters deserve the most innovative and secure solutions at the tactical edge – whether on land, in air, or at sea.

At AWS, we work closely with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), so the agency can leverage the cloud’s scale and cost-efficient solutions in an effort to help meet mandates, drive efficiencies, and increase innovation.

With the addition of the AWS Secret Region, AWS is the only Cloud Service Provider accredited to address the full range of DoD data classifications, including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret. The DoD can buy cloud services in the AWS Secret Region via the Army Cloud Computing Enterprise Transformation (ACCENT) Blanket Purchase Agreement, which is now available DoD-wide. This is a significant benefit to the warfighter, as it allows the most sensitive mission workloads to benefit from the innovation and agility of cloud and also simplifies training for DoD’s IT professionals, as training on AWS will help the DoD take advantage of the cloud across all data classification levels.

By leveraging the AWS Cloud, the DoD has access to our vast AWS Partner Network (APN) – with tens of thousands of technology and consulting partners – from the largest systems integrators and consulting firms like Lockheed Martin and Accenture to hundreds of regional and smaller SIs who have built practices around AWS, like REAN Cloud, Smartronix, JHC Technologies, and Enlighten IT Consulting.

The DoD is looking at ways to use the cloud to improve warfighting capabilities, including the use of big data analytics and artificial intelligence (machine learning and deep learning) to increase situational awareness and speed up decision-making.

Former Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, Dr. Travis Axtell, OSD, Office Under Secretary of Defense, and Andy Farrar, OPNAV N2N6 Digital Warfare Office, joined us on the webcast to share their insights about the cloud’s current and potential impact on warfighting capabilities.

“In the past, you’d say, ‘Do I have my batteries? Do I have my ammunition? … Do I have my fuel?’” former Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said during his remarks at “Enabling the Warfighter.” “The first thing that warfighters are going to ask in the future is, ‘Do I have my data and do I have access to my data?’ … The way we will provide that data to them and provide access to that data is through the cloud.”

A cultural change is needed, Work said. “If we create the cloud smartly – if we extend the cloud to the tactical edge – our operators are going to be able to deal better with extremely complicated and surprising environments.” In future wars, “the side with the most relevant data will win,” he added.

Watch the complete recording of the “Enabling the Warfighter” webcast here.