Deputy CIO Wennergren outlines why DoD is migrating to the cloud


Hear DoD Deputy CIO Dave Wennergren at ELC.


“Did you hear cloud computing is all the rage?”

That is a recent — and direct — quote from DoD Deputy CIO Dave Wennergren, who just talked to FederalNewsRadio about a new open source memo.

But that’s not all DoD is doing.

Wennergren recently talked about what his agency is doing in terms of the cloud at the Executive Leadership Conference.

He began his remarks by likening the cloud to a double-edged sword.

“I have this theory that, if you can ride the wave of change about enthusiasm for something that’s in the public psyche, then it makes it a lot easier to do change within your organization. If there’s a demand signal on the part of your constituencies — your clients [and] customers, then it becomes a lot easier to tell them that [in order] to get that, they’re going to have to do something different.”

Throughout history, he said, it’s been the same. Not everyone wanted to use a personal computer when they first rolled out; nor did everyone trust the Internet at first; however, forward-thinking organizations demonstrated how to use this new technology in a beneficial manner, and thus got clients on board.

“You have that going on right now with cloud computing — which is the good side. The tough side is that, when you have so much hype . . . then you have that, as Gartner would say, the great risk of the trough of disillusionment. So, trying to do expectation management about — what does cloud computing mean to you and how would you leverage it and what would you leverage for? It’s not going to be the same for everybody.”

Though it is different for every organization and agency, Wennergren highlighted what DoD is currently doing in order to give everyone at ELC a better idea of how the cloud might work.

“So we have this vision in the Department of Defense that you’re going to be able to get on any computing device, slap your card in and find the people and information that you need to get your job done. That’s a different world than the one we live in today, but there is a whole bunch of activity that’s going on to break down those barriers.”

Currently, these activities range from leveraging Web services and move to a more service oriented approach to doing business to eliminating stovepipes to utlizing Web 2.0 tools.

“In DoD speak, we’ve been talking about net-centric for a long time, which is what this is all about. This movement to the cloud is a culmination of a data-focused approach, a service oriented approach and the ability to have your infrastructure ubiquitously available along with the services.”

Overall, Wennergren said DoD’s goal is having a massive ability to collaborate in a secure environment.

“If you do it right, you could actually do this better in a world that involves the cloud.”

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