Naval Research & Development Establishment (NR&DE) provides the US Navy access to AWS Secret Region
In June 2019, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC PAC) awarded Amazon Web Services (AWS) the first Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) in the US Department of Defense (DoD) for DoD Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide Impact Level (IL) 6 cloud services. This BPA allows for Navy customers to bring the benefits of commercial cloud to Secret workloads.
In 2020, NIWC PAC made available the first AWS Secret Region IL-6 environment available for both internal customers residing on the NIWC PAC Secret Wide Area Network (SWAN) and external DoD and U.S. Department of the Navy (DoN) customers. To support external customers, NIWC PAC deployed SkyDesk, a Citrix Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution that allows any SIPRNet terminal to connect and access the NR&DE IL-6 Cloud.
“This was a giant leap for us. We have had access to Unclassified (IL-4/IL-5) commercial cloud for a while. Now by having access to IL-6 with AWS, we can service a broader set of users and projects that must work at the classified secret level and provide the same benefits of commercial cloud to those projects,” said Delores Washburn, chief engineer of NIWC PAC.
The DoN Research & Development Establishment (NR&DE) focuses on maturing new technologies from naval science and technology into acquisition programs of record (PORs). This continuum of science, research, development, testing, and evaluation fosters good ideas in the lab to become new capabilities for naval warfighters. NIWC PAC is charged with provisioning research and development of cloud services to authorized DoD consumers based upon their technical and policy requirements and funding relationships.
The NR&DE Cloud provides infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). It supports development, integration, cyber compliance, acceptance testing, training, staging, and troubleshooting activities. The AWS Secret Region provides Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) provisional authorized cloud services for Secret workloads to the DoD. The NR&DE IL-6 Cloud aligns with the Navy Cloud First Policy to design, transfer, host, operate, and sustain IT capabilities with commercial cloud service provider (CCSP) hosting environments to the maximum extent possible. NIWC PAC provides center-level Authority to Operate (ATO) that covers all research and development programs in the NR&DE Cloud, along with cloud security services and continuous monitoring mechanisms.
The AEGIS Surface Combatant Software Factory (Forge) Platform lead stated, “One of the largest benefits we’re seeing is the ability to provision resources quickly and efficiently. Before, prototyping and development efforts would involve lengthy procurement timelines and consequently slow progress. Today, cloud has enabled us to scale up and down and experiment quickly with ease and agility. We’d like to thank the NR&DE team for assisting us and enabling our cloud journey.”
To learn more about the NR&DE Cloud, visit the NR&DE portal. The portal is accessible from any .mil network with a Common Access Card (CAC).
Learn more about cloud computing for defense.