The Department of Defense began constructing its cloud computing infrastructure ten years ago, with the US Armed Forces leading the modernization drive. The combat and non-combat organizations inside a military system would access data. The private sector set the standard for cloud computing, and the defense ministries have profited from the options that are now available.
Cloud computing, in the simplest form, is the supply of computing services via the Internet (“the cloud”), encompassing storage, servers, networking databases, analytics, software, and intelligence.
Clouds are a sizable collection of readily available and accessible virtualized resources, including hardware, platforms for software development, or services. These resources are adaptable to changing loads (scales) and can be dynamically adjusted to achieve optimum resource use.
This resource pool is often utilized through a pay-per-use approach, in which the infrastructure provider provides assurances through tailored service level agreements2. It is essential to comprehend this term to comprehend the notion. However, it is crucial to understand the three cloud computing sectors before moving on.
- IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, manages many computing resources, such as memory and processing power.
- PaaS, or Platform as a Service, allows you to create new cloud-based apps or services that are not dependent on a single platform to function and to make them broadly accessible to customers via the Internet.
- SaaS, or Software as a Service, cloud-based systems host services that may interest a range of consumers. This is a substitute for locally executed programs.
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Cloud Computing in the Defense Sector
The main trends in defense impacting the cloud are listed below.
In modern warfare, mobility is vital to survival. Airmobile, armored, mechanized, and expeditionary units must be in constant motion during the operational and deployment phases to survive in war. This is crucial, especially when the adversary is a force that is close to you and has sophisticated C4ISR capabilities that enable the engagement and detection of allied forces.
Edge technologies that give warfighters access to the cloud at a military level must therefore be very mobile and have a direct connection to the features of the telecom infrastructure used by each service. Any strategy to combat edge cloud technology must first solve any telecommunications-related issues.
2. Hiding in the EW Spectrum
Systems that use Information Technology (IT) produce electromagnetic signals, and the likelihood of an attack on the target increases with the frequency of those signals. To maintain uninterrupted operations, vessels, planes, other significant platforms, and, most crucially, Command Posts can hide from enemy surveillance. The best strategy is to blend in with the background noise, which is the field’s existing electromagnetic noise.
The US Army handles this issue by utilizing WiFi at Command Centers and is currently investigating the use of light fidelity, a technology based on LED light, to send data amongst the various IT teams within a CP.
3. Ensuring Security
Due to the sensitive nature and significance of the information that can be held in clouds, security in the defense industry is of utmost importance. However, security in hostile contexts, like a battlefield, is different for various reasons. Their primary concern is the absence of a fixed infrastructure, which forces them to rely on different wavelengths for data transmission. As a result, the adversary can jam the transmission and stop it in its tracks, in addition to being able to intercept and access the data.
Military forces must develop the requisite apps, mission command systems, and suites to enable unrestricted information interchange. However, it can take a lot of work as communication channels are changing to consider the most recent advancements.
Additionally, it is expensive and time-consuming to upgrade the communication infrastructure of large platforms, especially when this capability needed to be taken into account when the platforms were first designed. Therefore, to obtain newer models with sophisticated telecommunication and C2 suites, military forces must wait for the upgradation of such systems.
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Military organizations initially designed their cloud services on equipment subject to their physical control and inspection due to data security concerns. That was also connected to the service providers’ need for a more geographic distribution of data centers. The emergence of cloud computing accelerated once the latter company invested in constructing data centers inside the boundaries of the customer. There are several online Cloud Computing courses available that you can take up to increase your knowledge.
Three Main Reasons to Adopt Cloud Computing in the Defense Sector
Defense agencies need to be more agile to adapt to a constantly changing threat environment. Three main factors influence their cloud adoption:
- Having the appropriate information at the right moment is essential for defense organizations. Information that provides precise, timely, thorough insights and the situational awareness required to comprehend and foresee the moves of allies and enemies on and off the battlefield is potent. The challenge in today’s world is that there is now infinitely more information available than ever due to advancements in remote electronic sensors, cybersecurity, and surveillance—the scalability and processing capacity required to handle this volume of data and transform it into actionable intelligence.
- Consider cyber warfare. You can’t keep up if your adversary is all-encompassing and constantly introducing new capabilities, and you have to set up servers to protect your powers physically.
- Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) software is under pressure to become more cloud-ready. Defense organizations increasingly rely on COTS technology to assist them in managing their operations and custom military applications. Agencies must migrate to the cloud to access the most recent versions of these offerings as they become cloud-only.
Numerous technologies in cloud computing enable the practical construction of computing platforms with a wide range of valuable characteristics. Cloud computing has found use in several industries, including banking, finance, education, government, and healthcare. Defense agencies are concerned about the security of classified and sensitive information concerning national security interests. Yet, the defense industry sees cloud computing as an alternative to the current IT system.
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In regions where there are non-classified or non-mission-critical applications, defense departments can utilize the cloud. Ground people can employ cloud computing for information-intensive applications. Because of the uncertainties surrounding national interest, defense agencies cannot exploit cloud computing to its full potential, but it will soon complement current technology.
Enrolling in a Cloud Computing course is recommended because it has become essential in today’s world. Cloud computing, without a doubt, is the future, and we need to be well aware of its implementation.