U.S. intelligence community tens of billions of dollars in multi-cloud construction contracts raise significant challenge of rival-turned-partner

The intelligence community already has five cloud service providers offering services under its multi-billion-dollar commercial cloud enterprise (C2E) contracts. But now comes the difficult challenge: how to incentivize these companies to work closely together rather than compete for task orders in larger contracts. The same problem is probably not only a problem for the intelligence community, but also for government departments and critical infrastructure departments.

Michael Waschull, Acting CIO of the Intelligence Community, noted that collaboration among competitors is the biggest challenge facing the Intelligence Community as it transitions from a single cloud (Commercial Cloud as a Service (C2S)) to a C2E (Commercial Cloud Enterprise) multi-cloud contract. C2S contracts are the forerunners of intelligence agencies’ move to cloud platforms. With the establishment of its next iteration, called C2E, the Defense Intelligence Agency has set its sights on everything from storage to edge computing.

C2E is the highly anticipated follow-on cloud procurement program for Commercial Cloud Services (C2S), which was awarded to Amazon Web Services in 2013 for $600 million. However, according to earlier contract documents, the new multi-cloud contract will have a 15-year execution period and be worth “tens of billions” of dollars.

Last fall, the CIA, the contract management agency, awarded the cloud portion of C2E to Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. According to the contract documents, the new multi-cloud contract will have a 15-year execution period and be worth “tens of billions” of dollars. Contract holders will compete for mission orders at various levels of secrecy, up to top secret.

Waschull told FedScoop, “The idea of ​​five different world-class cloud providers, bringing their capabilities, knowledge, skills, and ability to solve our problems and allow the intelligence community to cherry-pick its components so that we can tailor and Designing the most appropriate building blocks of capability shows great promise.” However, he said, that is “if and only if a huge obstacle in the way forward can be overcome: how do we stimulate collaboration among these five competitors, Collaborate, communicate and support each other.”

This Model is ideal for the intelligence community but runs counter to the values ​​of the profit-driven private sector.

“In essence, they are mission partners in the private sector, motivated by profit and competition,” Waschull said. “We have to instill a core value that we value collaboration and collaboration rather than any single technical term or Any single lowest price.”

Added Waschull: “We want the best value. We want to facilitate the integration effort, where each different competitor understands not only their product line, but the capabilities and limitations of their competitor’s product line, so they can Can work together to provide the best technology and business solutions for government needs.”

Waschull, who spent time at the Missile Defense Agency, compared this environment to the MDA’s model of the Missile Defense National Team, which brings together leaders from aerospace sectors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon. people to support the agency’s ballistic missile defense system.

“If we can do that here with our cloud computing efforts, as they have done with missile defense, and give up competition and collaborate and cooperate sincerely, then we’ll be in a very good position,” he said.

The DoD will learn from the intelligence community’s multi-cloud model after Intelligence recently announced it would follow a similar path, canceling its failed single-vendor cloud acquisition, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI).

To further support this model, the intelligence community also plans to bring in systems integrators through a second separate contract under C2E to help manage this environment – “to provide the knowledge, skills and capabilities to help governments make the best choices to design The best formula for the capacity and capabilities of the cloud,” Waschull said.

In the past, ITSD has engaged consultants to advise on such IT procurement. But this integrator will be a built-in partner, “incentivizing fees based not only on helping us make the best technical decisions to enable cloud capabilities across the enterprise, but also on helping us understand the various pricing models for each particular vendor. ,” Waschull said.

“Understanding volume discounting, understanding the way they calculate prices, understanding that they can advise the government between two or three equally competing technological approaches, that’s the way you want it from a business standpoint,” he said. “Having this motivating professional analysis to help guide our decisions, I think is very powerful.”

The cloud services portion of the C2E contract and the five vendors are working towards an initial operational capability state in order to begin work. Both were supported by the CIA Cloudworks program management office until the integrator contract was awarded, Waschull said. Waschull meets monthly with suppliers individually or as a group to discuss challenges, opportunities and their perspectives.

When this multi-cloud capability actually comes online, Waschull said, “a united effort will set the stage for us to move to the next phase.”

“As we look at warfare in a 21st-century competitor environment, and the vast amount of data from the constellations above us, generated locally by artificial intelligence and machine learning applications and exchanged between members of the intelligence community, warfighters and others , to gain a competitive advantage is a big problem.” But those building blocks are really capable of delivering those creative solutions that allow us to manage the volume and velocity of information we have to exchange. “

Waschull concluded: “Having these best cloud contributors fight with us, if we can find the magic that makes them work, collaborate and collaborate together, we’ll be in a much more competitive position than our opponents, which is The challenges we must meet in the 21st century competition.”

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