AMC prepares to move into the “Cloud”

Staff Sgt. Jason Greca, 375th Communications Squadron Client Support Technician, creates a hand receipt for computer equipment being dropped off for repair.

Staff Sgt. Jason Greca, 375th Communications Squadron Client Support Technician, creates a hand receipt for computer equipment being dropped off for repair. Air Mobility Command has begun aggressive efforts to migrate its cyber systems to a cloud-based model. A Cloud-based service enhances readiness and customer service responses to IT issues by decreasing the time it takes to develop software security patches and disseminate the patches to customers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Eikren)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — Air Mobility Command has begun aggressive efforts to migrate its cyber systems to a cloud-based model, providing Mobility Airmen more efficient and secure ways to access and store data.

According to Col. Terrance Adams, AMC’s Communications Directorate director, leveraging cloud computing services helps reduce costs and provide greater efficiencies. 

“As our infrastructure ages, the maintenance cost on the buildings increases,” he said. “Additionally, technical refreshes on our servers adds to the cost. The Cloud is a service provided by a commercial provider that allows AMC to pay only for services used, while the commercial provider takes care of the IT infrastructure.”

Adams added that a Cloud-based service also enhances readiness and customer service responses to IT issues by decreasing the time it takes to develop software security patches and disseminate the patches to customers. Currently, it can take up to 21 days, or longer, for software to be developed and disseminated. 

“What the service gives us the ability to do is perform patches at a much faster rate,” he said. “Currently, we try to minimize interruptions for our customers, and with the Cloud we hope to have zero impact on our customers.” 

AMC’s use of partner networks creates challenges in ensuring rapid global mobility success. As the air component of the U.S. Transportation Command, AMC plays a role in helping USTRANSCOM become the first Department of Defense agency to commence migration of its cyber domain to a commercial cloud provider. In September the first wave of five USTRANSCOM IT systems transitioned to a commercial cloud-based solution.  

“[USTRANSCOM’s] transition to a cloud-based solution not only enhances mission assurance, but controls IT infrastructure costs and strengthens cyber agility, resiliency and innovation,” said Lt. Col. John Riester, deputy chief, Enterprise Infrastructure Portfolio and Support Division, USTRANSCOM’s Command, Control, Communications and Cyber Systems Directorate. “This transformational move to the cloud also allows us to keep pace with industry.”

Adams stated the real benefit for AMC’s transition is increased response to cybersecurity threats. 

“Technology is changing,” he said. “We must leverage, take advantage and embrace new technology and the changes that come along with it. If we don’t, our enemies will gain information superiority and leave our nation in a weakened posture.”

 The transition to Cloud-based services for AMC bases is scheduled to be complete in the spring of 2018.