Will Cloud Computing Be Canada’s Next Big Military Procurement? Here’s What You Should Know – National

Ask most Canadians what the military needs next, and cloud computing might not be the first thing that springs to mind.

But modernizing the way Canadian security officials deal with increasingly massive datasets could be among the most important decisions of the coming years – and federal officials have confirmed to Global News that “preliminary” work is underway.

“Militaries are a reflection of the societies they live in, and a lot of the way we’re going to wage wars in the future is stuff we see in society today, which is big amounts of data management,” said Richard Shimooka, Senior Fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute.

“It takes massive amounts of information that they organize and store and then actually apply it to perform operations.”

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Canada’s national security agencies and military sit on hordes of data that must be continuously tracked, evaluated and managed to support the operations conducted to protect the country’s interests.

Increasingly, however, these amounts of data are not only stored in filing cabinets, basements or bunkers. They sit in the “cloud” — the digital ether most Canadians probably know best as a safe haven for backing up old family photos or syncing information between multiple devices.

As the amorphous nature of cyber warfare and cyber conflict has demonstrated in recent years, the ability to collect, interpret, share, and respond to digital intelligence is already a critical part of how militaries and national security agencies use theirs Get work done in the 21st century.

But modernization has been a slow advance for Canadian security actors, including the Canadian Armed Forces.

“Some of our systems and processes date back to the 1950s. In order to [there is] crazy potential not even to upgrade this with modern practices but to lock onto the 2010s,” said Dave Perry, vice president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and expert on Canadian defense policy.

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“It was a tremendous achievement to start using it [Microsoft] Office 365 in recent years.”

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US military cloud contracts are worth billions

Speculation about whether Canada might consider a cloud computing deal comes amid plans south of the border to award a multibillion-dollar Defense Department contract later this year.

Last summer, the US Department of Defense announced plans to award a contract in April 2022 for what it now calls Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability.

This initiative aims to bring multiple American IT vendors into a contract to provide cloud computing services to the military, replacing a single-vendor program planned under the former Trump administration and known as JEDI – the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project – was known.

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Last month, the Pentagon announced that the JWCC contract would not be awarded until December 2022.

Microsoft and Amazon are thought to be frontrunners for various parts of this deal, while Google, Oracle, and IBM have also expressed interest.

Some of these companies are now lobbying Canadian officials to secure similar contracts here.

Which companies are lobbying Canadian officials?

Google, IBM, Oracle and Microsoft have not had lobbying lists with national security officials in recent months, although all list cloud computing as one of their broader lobbying interests with officials from other departments such as the Treasury Board Secretariat, Justice Canada and Natural Resources.

Amazon Web Services recently filed records revealing lobbying with national security agencies and officials. One of the interests listed is seeking contracts “with multiple government departments and institutions regarding Amazon cloud-based solutions and related support services.”

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The web giant has also posted job postings to work on its push to bring cloud computing to Canadian government offices, including an account manager. This role is tasked with “increasing the adoption of Amazon Web Services through the development of strategic accounts within the Canadian federal government’s National Security Sector.”

According to lobbyist records, Canada Branch President Eric Gales had meetings with Secretary of Defense Anita Anand’s Chief of Staff, Michael Power, on February 19, 2022, and a day earlier he had met with Acting Deputy Assistant Minister of Shared Services Canada, Scott Davis.

He also met with Sami Khoury, head of the Canadian Center for Cybersecurity, on November 17, 2021.

The Canadian Center for Cyber ​​Security is part of the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s signals intelligence agency and the body tasked with protecting the Canadian government’s IT networks.

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A spokesman for the CSE confirmed that initial work on the subject is underway,

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“The evolving world of information technology (IT) is moving toward cloud-based services. We recognize that our closest allies have or are acquiring classified cloud capabilities, and we continue to have discussions with them about security requirements to maintain interoperability,” said Evan Koronewski.

“The Canadian government’s security and intelligence community is engaged in preliminary investigations to examine requirements for classified cloud services.”

He added that officials are reviewing “security requirements” with the Treasury Department Secretariat, Shared Services Canada and the Department of Defense.

A spokesman for the latter also confirmed that the military is working to integrate more cloud capabilities, though not for classified material just yet.

“We know that cloud computing offers significant benefits in terms of IT efficiency,” said Dan Le Bouthillier.

“DND/CAF is expanding its cloud capacity and has adopted a multi-cloud strategy with multiple vendors, namely Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Google.”

He added that the goal is to “find the right balance between agility and security.”

On the website of Shared Services Canada, which handles IT services for government agencies, there are cloud computing master agreements with eight providers: Google Cloud, ServiceNow, IBM Cloud, Oracle, ThinkOn, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.

These enable the departments to order cloud services from these providers as needed.

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The US military’s cloud computing contract is valued at $9 billion, or $11.2 billion.

It’s not clear how much a similar solution could cost national security agencies here.

Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defense Secretary Anita Anand have hinted in recent weeks that the government is considering increasing defense spending, bringing it closer to NATO’s goal of having all members of the military alliance spend at least 2 percent of GDP Defense.

Canada’s current defense spending is 1.39 percent of GDP.

It would take about $16 billion to reach the two percent target.

That would be above the increases currently projected in the government’s 2017 plan to increase defense spending, which takes it from $18.9 billion in 2016/17 to $32.7 billion in 2026/27 will.

https://globalnews.ca/news/8706412/canada-national-security-classified-cloud-services/ Will Cloud Computing Be Canada’s Next Big Military Procurement? Here’s What You Should Know – National

Joel McCord

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