WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army will roll out a contract worth as much as $1 billion this fiscal year to spur the service’s migration to cloud-based computing.

The multi-award, multi-vendor Enterprise Application Migration and Modernization deal, or EAMM, is expected to kick off in the second or third quarter, according to Chief Information Officer Raj Iyer. The contract is meant to make it easier and cheaper to advance the Army’s comprehensive cloud goals, including rapid software development, data-driven decision making and zero-trust cybersecurity.

“This is going to become the easy button for the Army to actually move to the cloud,” Iyer told reporters Oct. 11 at the Association of the U.S. Army annual conference.

“Right now, what’s happening is even when we have commands that want to move to the cloud, today there is not one contract that they can go to,” he said. “So they are doing a lot of shopping. They’ve got to go to multiple contracting centers to go find the right vehicle, and then when they go there, it takes them nine months before they actually get on contract.”

That timeline is too long and that process too clunky, Iyer said. Under EAMM, the intent is to slash the time it takes to award task orders to four weeks.

Iyer’s office will spearhead the effort alongside the Army’s Enterprise Cloud Management Agency, which provides oversight for all of the service’s cloud processes and activities. The agency is led by Paul Puckett.

“It’s no longer just telling the commands, ‘Hey, you got to go figure it out,’” Iyer said. “We’re really kind of holding their hand to help them migrate their applications in the cloud, all the way from architecting it, working through migrating the data, the contract vehicle, and so on.”

The Army considers cloud migration and widespread, secure use foundational to the grander modernization of its networks, computers and collaboration. The Army’s updated cloud plan was unveiled this month, weeks after the service’s top uniformed information technology official, Lt. Gen. John Morrison, described the coming year as one of “action and acceleration” and “much more rapid movement to the cloud.”

The Army requested $16.6 billion in cyber and IT funding for fiscal 2023, which started Oct. 1, or more than 9% of the service’s $178 billion budget blueprint. Hundreds of millions, officials said, would be invested in cloud.

U.S Army Chief Information Officer Raj Iyer speaks to the audience at the Cyber Security Summit in July 2022.

“2023 is the big year for us,” Iyer said. “We’re going to be scaling a lot of the efforts we initiated in ‘22.”

The EAMM contract will coexist with the prospective Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, or JWCC, the Department of Defense’s $9 billion follow-up to the failed Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure arrangement, or JEDI.

Defense officials anticipate awarding JWCC by the end of the year. Selections were previously expected in April, but an unexpectedly hefty workload slowed the process.

“JWCC will be an avenue for the DoD to actually procure, compute and store directly from the cloud service providers, like the Amazons and the Googles of the world,” Iyer said. “What EAMM does is it’s the vehicle to actually modernize your application, get it to be cloud native, and then migrate to the cloud, right? You’re going to need both.”

With reporting by Molly Weisner.

Colin Demarest was a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covered military networks, cyber and IT. Colin had previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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