The Department of Defense (DoD) is widening its net as it searches for a partner to help it move its Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) to the cloud. The agency put out a Request for Information (RFI) in October, when it indicated that it was specifically looking to transition the GovCloud environment to Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The DoD has now modified its initial request to explain that it will accept applications that involve other cloud services providers. The amendment is intended to clarify an original solicitation document that made multiple references to AWS and the GovCloud system, and implied that system integrators would need to pitch an AWS solution to secure the contract.
However, the amended document makes it clear that integrators are not locked into AWS. The DoD will instead make its final decision based on the winning bid, and will migrate to whatever platform is specified in that bid.
“The system integrator’s proposal will determine the cloud service provider,” wrote a group of program managers. “The government’s interest is in the best value proposition to meet the government’s requirements.”
While the update opens the bidding to other cloud providers, the RFI stressed that the DoD is looking to move to an IL5-certified environment, and integrators will still need to comply with that requirement. That limits the available possibilities because the Defense Information Systems Agency only recognizes five IL5 solutions. The full list includes IBM SmartCloud for Government, Microsoft Azure DOD, MilCloud 2.0 CSRA, and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Government Cloud in addition to AWS GovCloud.
The amendment extended the RFI until December 4. The agency’s first request for a proposal is not expected until the third quarter of 2021.
The DoD is using AWS to back up its on-premises ABIS, and is looking for a partner that can sustain its current operations while performing the transition. The ABIS stores the biometric information of enemy combatants, and contains more than 18 million records. The DoD recently released a separate Basic Optical Biometric Analysis app that allows friendly soldiers to identify one another while in the field.
November 25, 2020 – by Eric Weiss