Defence organisations have traditionally been slow in moving their information technology (IT) operations to the cloud considering the risk of unauthorised access. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, highlighted the benefits of cloud computing and how military operations can be improved through faster data exchange and interconnection between various systems and services.

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Adoption of cloud computing technologies by navies

US Navy

The US Navy completed the migration of its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Program to the cloud in 2019. The programme enables financial and logistics transactions to be accessed from a single platform.

The JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) cloud contract was awarded by the US Department of Defense (DoD) to develop cloud infrastructure for the armed forces. The contract was eventually cancelled delaying the department’s plans to transition toward the cloud.

The US Navy, however, is continuing its migration of commands and systems to the cloud, which can be moved to another provider once the JEDI is implemented. The navy is also testing cloud-to-edge computing on its warships to evaluate software testing and analysis, training and information gathering.

Furthermore, the navy recently published guidelines for implementing cloud computing in the service. The guidelines focus on the need to incorporate cloud computing in all new software being developed for the service to support mission-critical requirements. The guidelines also aim at removing procurement barriers that have hindered the adoption of cloud technology in the service.

UK Royal Navy

The UK Royal Navy recently announced that it is working with tech giants, including Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS), to incorporate edge cloud computing in its operations. AWS has demonstrated how cloud-enabled drones and communication systems can assist the navy in humanitarian missions.