US Army Moving a Critical Mission into Cloud

The US Federal governments Cloud First initiative has spurred branches of the military such as the Army into rethinking the way they deploy information technology. One of the most critical missions for the Army’s troops is their access to educational and online coursework through the Army Command and General Staff College.

The ageing systems that the CGSC had in place needed an update to keep up with the different ways the troops were accessing the materials. The old system was plagued with network outages and authentication troubles. The Army faced an uphill battle that waged on for three years in efforts to replace this technology with a cloud solution. According to Federal Times, that wait is finally over. The Federal Times reports that the Army’s “CGSC is serving more than 18,000 students and faculty via a commercial cloud solution.”

Lt. Col. Ben Ring mentions some of the unique challenges faced by the Army’s CGSC. He says, “We have competing demands … by trade we’re a military organization and we have to abide by military regulations and security procedures, even though the information we may process is not all national security information. On the other side is this info accessibility demand, the desire to share and publish and collaborate with our peers.”

The Army’s CGSC went with Blackboard’s cloud solution. Blackboard has been around for decades as an online learning tool used by college and universities all around the world. Blackboard has evolved into a cloud learning platform that allows users to access information on demand from a variety of internet connected devices. Since Blackboard already has a working relationship with government institutions, the transition into Blackboard seems to make sense for the Army’s CGSC. What makes this integration unique is the fact that Blackboard solution complies with the military’s policies for bringing in cloud computing.