Aaron Bishop, chief information security officer (CISO) at the Department of the Air Force – which comprises both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force – talked about progress in the Air Force’s “Race to The Cloud” program on March 2 during an event organized by GovCIO.

Bishop focused on the program’s aims to move the service branch away from the current footing of its legacy systems, and enhance the Air Force’s cloud environments.

“This effort is how do we onboard legacy systems into our cloud instances that we manage and operate,” he said, adding, “so that A) we can get some standardization in the cloud, and B) we know what the monitoring construct looks like,” stated Bishop.

On the security front, the Race to the Cloud program has been designed to encompass zero trust security principals from the ground up, as well as making sure that the program maintains a centralized approach that avoid needing to rebuild it across many different military installations, he said.

“It’s already being designed and modified to fit the zero trust roadmap, so that we do SD-WAN, we do the monitoring, ICAM has been upgraded – all the things that we need to be doing from a zero trust perspective,” Bishop said. “And then we can then help them see use-cost savings from not duplicating it in 150 bases, and then be able to do it more centrally.”

The push for the program comes amid what Bishop calls his greatest challenge: the sheer “scale” of legacy systems that he needs to onboard to cloud environments and have operational for Air Force bases around the world.

“My challenge is a little bit more on scale. I’ve got over 150 mini-cities running around the globe that I have to worry about. And when I say mini-cities, I mean everything about it. I’m running an airport, I’m running, housing, food, sewer, utilities, security, you name it for these little cities all over the world,” said Bishop.

“More importantly, as we change from independent mechanical systems to highly connected data systems, you have all these different types of systems, I have to do the upgrades in a very deliberate way,” he said.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.