For the United States Air Force, one of largest departments within the Department of Defense (DoD), having instant access to secure email and unified capabilities that enable real-time conversations can make all the difference when it comes to responding to threats at a moment’s notice or nimbly managing service-wide logistics.
The Air Force, along with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), understands that Microsoft offers secure cloud technology that can help provide the productivity and collaboration services that Service members need to fulfill their mission.
Last week, the Air Force, in partnership with the DLA, announced it awarded more than 100,000 seats of a DoD-dedicated version of Microsoft Office 365 to Microsoft, Dell, and General Dynamics through its Collaboration Pathfinder (CP) project.
The agreement, which has the potential to scale up in reach, is expected to help the Air Force and DLA reduce costs significantly over the next three years. The agreement is one of the largest commercial cloud contracts in DoD history.
As part of the deployment, which will begin in the next government fiscal year, the Air Force will have access to secure e-mail, calendaring, Office Web Applications, Skype for Business, and other important collaboration tools, helping the agency communicate more easily across active, civilian, and reserve personnel and move toward a consolidated mobile and messaging platform. Just as important, the Air Force anticipates that the migration will help it realign critical resources to better support its mission in a trusted cloud environment.
As noted in the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) Strategic Plan, cloud computing plays an increasingly vital role in the DoD. Its ability to provide agile capabilities and real-time access to data is constantly enhancing the DoD’s decision-making skills and daily operations.
In addition, by securely combining commercial and government services with Microsoft’s trusted Cloud for Government solution, the Air Force is demonstrating its commitment to building on the successful DoD Enterprise Email (DEE) initiative and its support of the DoD’s unique security requirements and best practices.
No organization deserves a more enterprise- and security-ready approach than the Air Force. This announcement shows that when it comes to a trusted, secure, and productivity-enabled cloud, Microsoft is up to the task.