Four months ago, Brigadier General Jeth Rey led a 700-member team in Afghanistan to deconstruct a 20-year-old network architecture established for the U.S. military. As director of the Network Cross-Function Team, Army Futures Command, Rey recounted his experiences at “Winning with the Network: Securing Data in Motion to the Tactical Edge,” an online panel sponsored by Booz Allen, which I had the honor of moderating.
Rey explained that his biggest challenge was to maintain data flow across the joint forces as his team dismantled the infrastructure which, for two decades, supported that information exchange. Rey conquered the challenge by replacing the legacy IT infrastructure with a cloud-native network. Free of physical data center constraints, the cloud-native approach offered increased data storage, resilience to server crashes, increased flexibility in data access, and faster data transmission.
There is much to learn from Rey’s success, particularly as the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command aims to deliver a Mission Partner Environment (MPE) by the summer of 2022. The aim of an MPE is to support rapid, secure information transfer among the joint forces and trusted international allies. To maximize speed to insight, data optimization, and scalability, the MPE should eschew traditional IT infrastructure in favor of a data-centric, cloud-native network. As the Department of Defense builds toward this future state, there are two factors that stand out as critical to MPE success: 1) establishing zero-trust security and 2) building with an open architecture approach.