Air Force CIO Lauren Knausenberger Moves Ahead With Cloud One Amid JWCC Delays

The U.S. Air Force has embarked on a major digital transformation and IT modernization journey in the last few years. Among the service’s top priorities in this area is cloud migration, and the Air Force’s Chief Information Officer, Lauren Knausenberger, isn’t waiting for someone to provide them with cloud capabilities — she’s leading the effort to build it out internally.

Since her appointment to CIO in 2020, Knausenberger – a 2022 Wash100 Award winner – has championed major IT improvements, better user experiences for Air Force service members and overarching modernization efforts. Knausenberger’s response to the “Fix Our Computers” movement, which started in early 2022, made clear that she understands the urgency behind the Air Force’s IT modernization, and it cemented her as a major figure in the effort.

On the other hand, the Department of Defense is encountering some speed bumps in its adoption of cloud. The DOD’s first major single vendor cloud contract, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, was terminated in July 2021 after years of controversy, protests and delays. Now, the department is moving forward with its new cloud program, the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability, which is already much more promising than its predecessor and favors a multi-cloud approach.

The $9 billion JWCC contract was previously set to be awarded in the Spring of 2022, but it has now been delayed to December 2022. Regardless, Knausenberger is moving forward with Cloud One as the Air Force’s cloud environment.

“We have a pretty solid cloud environment,” she told FedScoop in an interview. “It is very secure. We’ve focused on making sure that it has really outstanding enterprise services that when you bring an application into cloud, once you migrate it, you don’t have to do a whole lot. The continuous monitoring is there, the identity stack is there, you have data feeds connected to other things easily — we’ve done that.”

Knausenberger reiterated that the Air Force has been in the cloud for the last four years and is well-equipped to continue working with its industry partners to build out its own platform. 

“We have the vast majority of our business workloads in the cloud,” Knausenberger revealed. “I believe we are still the world’s largest cloud instantiation for any commercial or government entity outside of the large cloud providers.”

Hear Lauren Knausenberger speak in person about the major challenges and opportunities surrounding the Air Force’s IT modernization goals during the Potomac Officers Club’s 2022 Air Force Summit at the Tysons Ritz-Carlton on July 26. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall is also scheduled to deliver a keynote address. Seats are limited – click here to reserve yours today.

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