US Air Force moves closer to awarding Cloud One Next contract

WASHINGTON — A request for proposals for the U.S. Air Force’s Cloud One Next program could come as soon as this month, as the service eyes a spring 2024 contract award, an official said.

The Air Force teased its Cloud One successor in November, seeking industry feedback with a request for information. At the time, interested companies were asked how they might approach managing and modernizing Cloud One while factoring in “recent government leadership direction,” including the National Defense Strategy and a fiscal 2023-2028 information technology road map.

While details about the future arrangement are still being ironed out, C1N, as it’s known, will emphasize zero-trust cybersecurity, identity, credential and access management, or ICAM, and software development, Maj. Gen. Anthony Genatempo said July 31 at the Air Force’s Life Cycle Industry Days event in Dayton, Ohio. Genatempo serves as the program executive officer for command, control, communications, intelligence and networks.

Zero trust is a cybersecurity paradigm that assumes networks and databases have already been breached, thus requiring constant validation of users and devices. ICAM is a means of checking qualifications and then tailoring what information is available to a user.

“We’re bringing in a lot of the CIO’s strategy,” Genatempo said.

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The focus on cloud services comes as the Air Force seeks additional data durability and portability. Its forces are among the most scattered, with infrastructure dotting the globe. Cloud One launched years ago, providing access to apps, information and broader connectivity.

Jay Bonci, the Air Force’s chief technology officer, in December told C4ISRNET he considered Cloud One, with its focus on Platform as a Service, or PaaS, a springboard to greater digital modernization.

“Cloud One has been principally focused on a PaaS baseline, so platform as a service, with a heavy focus on refactoring apps to take advantage of PaaS. And in so doing, it has cleaned up a lot of technical debt,” he said at the time. “Undoubtedly, Cloud One has been a huge success, but it’s going to have to continue to look at how it gets more and more and more customers.”

Defense News reporter Stephen Losey contributed to this article.