Supporting Military Readiness with Microsoft Cloud
By Wende Nossaman, US Federal Business Applications on February 14, 2018
Filed under Microsoft in Government
|Learn more: Improved Intelligence – DoD|
Modern Cloud Capabilities Improve Defense Readiness to Protect US Interests
The F-16 fighter, Gerald Ford-class aircraft carriers, and M1 Abrams tanks are modern marvels of engineering. But they’re not what makes the US military the most effective and lethal fighting force the world has ever seen.
There are nearly two million brave men and women on active duty and in reserve roles across military branches, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice and willingly enter some of the most dangerous, hostile, and unforgiving environments. They’re supported by the most advanced training, latest weaponry, and sophisticated intelligence technologies available to deter war and protect the interest and citizens of the United States and its allies.
Yet, defending a nation is more than just having the best equipment and the best people. To properly balance the supply and demand of deployable forces around the globe, Department of Defense (DoD) and military leaders need adaptive, integrated, and cross-platform systems to deliver the insights and intelligence for attracting, deploying, and mobilizing forces where and when they’re needed.
Supporting modern defense with antiquated systems
One of the DoD’s core priorities is warfighter readiness, the ability to always be ready to respond to the Commander-in-Chief’s orders. “Being ready” depends on existing global commitments, priorities, and the availability of sufficiently trained and equipped units to step in and respond in a time of crisis.
For years, the Department’s aging technologies and IT infrastructure have inhibited the visibility of military commanders and senior leaders into force deployments and availability.
Many of the enterprise-wide military personnel and resource systems are woefully outdated. Legacy applications are often disparate and siloed, making it nearly impossible to get a complete, up-to-the minute snapshot of the state of preparedness across every level of the military—from individual fire teams and squads to groups and regions.
However, warfighter readiness challenges go well beyond simple visibility concerns. Existing systems are ill-equipped to address an increasingly mobile and connected global environment with rapidly evolving security threats like climate change, terrorism, and cyberwarfare. They lack the integrations and automated workflows required for accelerating data aggregation and creating a single source of truth that allow senior leaders and their ops teams to properly assess situations and make informed strategic decisions that often have global implications.
Some individuals attempt to solve these shortcomings by creating unit-specific “shadow capabilities,” but these solutions create new challenges around data integrity, security, and scalability.
Legacy systems are costly to maintain, impossible to upgrade
Of course, changing systems and processes isn’t as simple as just flipping a switch. Like other government departments, the DoD already spends a disproportionate amount of budget—approximately 70%, according to some sources—on maintaining legacy systems. And with stagnant budgets (along with a healthy dose of budget uncertainty, owing to the whims and nuances of Congressional appropriation), retrofitting systems with the capabilities they need is cost prohibitive and generally unfeasible.
Instead of pursuing Band-Aid solutions riddled with inefficiency and redundant processes, DoD leaders should seek systems that support OPTEMPO and enable service member readiness across the organization through a cohesive, agile, and responsive environment for managing massive volumes of data (from emails, correspondence, documents, files, forms, and other content) that get the right information to the right decision makers at the right time.
Adaptive solutions for an evolving industry
Microsoft is changing the defense readiness game, delivering the applications, insights, and efficiencies, DoD and military leaders require to protect the country’s citizens, interests, and allies.
The Microsoft Cloud—including Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Office 365, and PowerBI—provides configurable, out-of-the-box capabilities to manage every aspect of defense readiness more efficiently and effectively. With Dynamics 365, the DoD can replace its outdated, siloed legacy systems with next-generation intelligent business applications that are custom-built to meet the evolving demands of the defense and intelligence communities.
Dynamics 365 is the lynchpin for aggregating data from systems and stores across the organization, breaking down silos, and creating a consolidated snapshot of human and equipment assets at any given moment. Along with its own built-in capabilities, Dynamics 365 taps directly into Microsoft’s broad partner ecosystem, integrating with systems like DefenseReady from Permuta Technologies and an array of others to deliver domain-specific capabilities agencies and teams can quickly adopt within a highly secure and expandable cloud-based platform.
Leveraging the Microsoft Cloud, DefenseReady delivers native intelligence infused with big data functionality for deeper insights and analytics, along with IoT connectivity to unite every person, device, and resource within the organization.
Together, DefenseReady and Dynamics 365 enable department managers to source information from virtually any system and ingest it into the Microsoft environment, where familiar tools like Microsoft Outlook, Excel, and SharePoint simplify communications among commanders, field personnel, and office staff, for complete end-to-end visibility across the entire organization—essential to maximizing warfighter readiness.
Developed with direct input from the defense and intelligence community, and with more than a decade of proven success in the field, Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Cloud empower the DoD to adapt and evolve its operations to stay ahead of today’s—and tomorrow’s—threats.
Defense and intelligence work is never done. Whether it’s keeping tabs on the latest cyber chatter, tracking potential natural disasters that could impact military installations, or simply moving personnel into position as a show of force in the face of potential conflict, DoD’s operations demand agility, efficiency, and security to properly protect the US and its allies. Microsoft is committed to supporting our government partners in that mission.
Contact us for more information or questions.