Earlier this month, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan issued a memo that aims to establish a steering group that will advance cloud adoption within the Department of Defense (DoD). The memo also advocates for tapping more into commercial solutions from industry members.

According to this recent FCW article, the memo indicates that DoD officials view contracting as a primary means to achieving their cloud strategy – further reinforcing the value that industry can provide.

“While technological modernization has many dimensions, I believe accelerating the DoD’s adoption of cloud computing technologies is critical to maintaining our military’s technological advantage,” stated the memo.

This approach also supports President Trump’s draft plan for IT modernization, which puts heavy emphasis on commercial cloud adoption in the federal arena. The FCW article also pointed out how the Navy and Army are emerging as early adopter case studies for the cloud, and that the Navy plans on migrating all of its data to a commercial cloud over the next five years.

According to a recent MeriTalk article, this is a move that is being heavily applauded by industry “for its potential to open the department to faster innovation.” Many industry members are hopeful that this new directive will allow the DoD to procure “revolutionary” commercial solutions that typically get slowed down or lost in the normal acquisition process.

Many industry members are excited about this memo – and the follow-on steering committee – because it moves beyond just providing recommendations, and offers a detailed phased plan with assigned agency leads.

We may finally be entering into the cloud frontier where the DoD fully embraces the most viable and innovative commercial solutions. This is why we are naming Patrick Shanahan this week’s GovTransformer.

Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal executives and their agencies that are truly transforming how they support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.