The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is launching a new cloud acquisition strategy that will offer a strategic sourcing vehicle useful to all DHS components for cloud adoption, a top agency tech official announced today.

Beth Cappello, deputy chief information officer (CIO) at DHS, said the 22 different components within DHS have different appropriated dollars and mission sets, with varying progress on their cloud services journey. Therefore, she said the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is looking to a new, flexible cloud acquisition strategy.

“One of the things that we’re trying to facilitate at DHS OCIO is an acquisition strategy that will support this need for agility and flexibility and scalability within the components – and basically give them an easy button so that when they’re ready, and when they have needs, they’ll have a vehicle available that will support their requirements,” Cappello said at an FCW event today.

“It is the ECLIPS strategy,” she continued. “This is our enterprise strategic sourcing vehicle for cloud infrastructure hosting services. This strategic sourcing vehicle will allow for consistency, ease of use, streamlining ordering, and maximizing efficiency.”

Cappello said the acquisition vehicle is “still in development,” but DHS already held an industry day last week that her team found “really useful” in gathering feedback from industry and ensuring that DHS will “get the best quality acquisition vehicle out there.”

She stressed that the goal of the ECLIPS effort is to find a product that is useful to all DHS components, similar to the data center and cloud optimization contract that DHS awarded last year.

As of right now, the deputy CIO said the effort includes department-wide Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service, Software as a Service, and additional cloud services coverage. Additionally, she said it is a multi-cloud environment – to avoid “vendor lock-in” – but noted that DHS also has a hybrid environment, as it still has some on-prem services.

“In looking at that complexity, it’s going to be really, really important in this vehicle that we think about all of those things and make the vehicle as flexible as possible to meet all of the requirements across the department,” Cappello said.

As for timing on the acquisition vehicle, she said DHS is still engaged in market research, and it may take until “the end of the year to finalize the scope.”

“But of course, we’re the government so I said end of year, it will probably be early next year,” she added. “So, please be looking for that. We are very interested in as much feedback as possible to make sure we get this right.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.