Microsoft will provide cloud infrastructure and a platform base to the majority of US Department of Defence operating systems. That's according to former DoD Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorse. He says the Pentagon's Joint Regional Security Stacks (JRSS) will move towards the cloud as the DoD seeks to modernize its tech infrastructure.
Typically, the defence department has used in-house operating systems to underpin its operations. However, Halvorse envisions a sweeping shift towards off-the-shelf platforms. Microsoft's Windows 10 will be the OS of choice, he believes.
Halvorse explains that around 90 percent of all DoD operating systems will be on Windows 10. JRSS is looking to reduce its server footprint, leading to more reliance on the cloud. Microsoft's Azure has already made significant headway in the Department of Defence and will continue to be cloud technology of choice.
“It's the first time we have done all this with completely off-the-shelf equipment. That's a big culture change that I think will sustain,” said Halvorsen.
While Halvorse is no longer making these kinds of decisions, he believes the DoD is committed to moving with the speed of the tech industry. Sticking to in-house solutions would likely mean operating systems are obsolete by time they are operational.
Microsoft Azure and the DoD
Microsoft has already been working with the DoD on its Azure Government platform. Last October, the company announced Azure Government DoD Regions as a preview release. The platform has Impact Level 5-ready cloud infrastructure and platform. Microsoft says it is the only hyperscale cloud provider to offer such protection.
With the launch of Azure Government DoD Regions, Microsoft also introduced a DoD-specific version of Office 365.
In January, final approval of Impact Level 5 was handed to Microsoft by DISA. The company noted that the authorization “will allow United States Department of Defense (DoD) mission owners and officials the ability to plan, assess, and authorize workloads for Impact Level 5 controlled unclassified information (CUI). This includes those workloads supporting National Security Systems as well as mission critical data transiting, or being stored or processed within the Azure Government cloud.”