Pentagon asks for industry’s help on cloud email

​The Pentagon has asked for industry's help converting its unclassified legacy email system to a secure, cloud-hosted solution capable of supporting up to 4.5 million users.

The Pentagon has asked for industry’s help converting its unclassified legacy email system to a secure, cloud-hosted solution capable of supporting as many as 4.5 million users.

In a request for information posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website last week, the DOD outlined its plans to institute a next-generation platform upgrading its current DOD Enterprise Email service, which supports 1.6 million users. The Defense Information Systems Agency currently manages all employee email aggregation services and billing on the system, which the notice states has become outdated since its implementation in 2012.

The request for information comes amid a flurry of cybersecurity policy upgrades across federal government. Agencies have been widely criticized for their lack of progress in bolstering security after the recent breaches to the Office of Personnel Management’s systems; last week, the Lexington Institute released a report condemning DOD’s data management systems as still vulnerable to attack.

The DOD has been quick to respond to the call to arms. Earlier this month, U.S. Cyber Command chief Adm. Michael Rogers unveiled a plan to revamp the nation’s sword and shield in the cyber domain.


“As cyberspace has grown and become more pervasive, military art has changed,” the report says. “No one today can exert or maintain national power without acute sensitivity to the digital networks that underpin the world’s communications, prosperity, and security.”

Of particular interest to agencies looking to enhance security while simultaneously cutting costs and streamlining efficiency has been the burgeoning cloud services market. In a field hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s IT Subcommittee in Texas on Tuesday, lawmakers complained that the government hasn’t done enough to embrace the cloud.

“We deserve a federal government that harnesses innovative solutions such as the cloud to modernize record keeping, improve critical government functions, maximize security, and be wise stewards of our tax dollars,” said Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, subcommittee chairman.

The notice makes special mention of cloud solutions as a primary initiative of the service. It also strongly encourages “small and small disadvantaged businesses” to contribute.

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