This article originally appeared on DefenseScoop.
Imagine you’re a fighter pilot, and your F15E is shot down in enemy territory. You yank your ejection handle before you too become a great ball of fire. Your unit has equipped you with lifesaving gear to give you the best survival odds. The minute your parachute opens, you immediately put in your critical comms earpiece to contact combat search and rescue. Kapow, it blows out your eardrum, proving more painful than the actual ejection from your jet. You have no choice but to keep using it, but you’re sure ready to tell someone, anyone, about this critical equipment fail the second you get rescued.
After some colorful commentary to the unit equipment custodian, how do you convey this problem to command, so it doesn’t happen to another warfighter? GEARFIT, an Air Force app allows Air Force aircrew to submit direct feedback about their gear, better-informing decisions about critical flight equipment.
Or, imagine you are a Special Tactics operator in the Air Force Special Warfare Force (AFSPECWAR) and your team is tasked to rescue a downed pilot behind enemy lines in a dangerous and isolated location, where GPS navigation and connectivity have been jammed. Your team needs to work jointly with an Army Special Forces unit that is already on the ground to locate the pilot and complete the rescue.
To enable you to integrate operations effectively, your team and the Army unit are equipped with tactical mobile devices that allow you to receive and share data from a multitude of systems such as microsensors and small unmanned aircraft systems. This kit allows your team and the Army unit to successfully interoperate, navigate the GPS-denied environment and successfully rescue the pilot without any casualties.
You can credit part of the mission’s success to the Special Warfare Technical Integration Support Center (TISC). TISC is a joint solution in support of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) that allows TISC to remotely deliver tactical air-to-ground integration, conduct global access and support personnel recovery, precision strike, and battlefield surgery operations.
Finally, imagine you are a member of the USAF 341st Training Squadron, tasked with keeping track of the training, health, and welfare of over 1600 military working dogs worldwide. Military working dogs are treated by our troops as fellow warriors, deserving the same quality of care and medical attention as their human counterparts. The jobs that military working dogs do are both risky and physically demanding and the military needs to make sure they have state-of-the-art medical care when they need it.
To keep these fellow warriors healthy and happy, not only do you need to keep track of the approximately 900 dogs/puppies at Lackland AFB but you need to ensure that the health and welfare of all of the dogs that are stationed worldwide are closely tracked and monitored. To keep track of these working dogs worldwide, the 341st Training Squadron and by AF Security Forces use the Working Dog Management System (WDMS) a global system application serving all of the Armed Forces and the Department of Defense. The WMDS application contains over 7 million training and utilization records and enables the DOD to track training, vaccination, and medical records for our canine warriors.
What do these applications that enable mission delivery solutions have in common? Cloud One. These mission system applications, along with 97 other apps, are hosted on the Air Force’s cloud platform. Without Cloud One, these apps would not be as secure, scalable, and rapid.
Cloud One was created in late 2017 (formerly called Cloud Computing Environment, or CCE) and is the Air Force’s state-of-the-art cloud secure computing platform for compute, storage, data management and networking. In five short years, Cloud One has changed the game and provided access to data across to globe to hundreds of thousands of Airman. Cloud One has been a cornerstone for how to do cloud computing and many other government agencies and allies have worked with Cloud One to bring the capability to their organization.
Taking aim at the enemy — Securely
There is no room for error when it comes to security, making it the most important aspect of Cloud One. The team has a 100% success rate against a staggering 10 million adversarial attempts per year to penetrate the cloud. Security is critical to all apps in Cloud One, such as the Theater Integrated Combat Munitions Systems (TICMS). TICMS is used to track all on and off aircraft actions for Air Force munitions assets and components across 210 worldwide locations. Since moving into Cloud One in 2020, TICMS has seen a tremendous improvement in uptime and a dramatic decrease in infrastructure-associated costs. Without Cloud One and its impeccable security, the warfighter would not have access to the right munitions at the right time.
Bringing the fight to the enemy — Worldwide, 24/7
All Cloud One-hosted applications benefit from secure, accessible, and reliable cloud platform that provides 24/7 worldwide access and improved uptime performance. For example, WICKR RAM (Recall, Alert, & Messaging) is an end-to-end encrypted collaboration application built for the warfighter. The application empowers individual users, the DOD enterprise, and the federal government to securely communicate while mobile and disconnected from secure networks.
“Using Cloud One allows our personnel and teams to collaborate securely both at the tactical edge and at the strategic level; both in-garrison and deployed,” said Todd Wieser, chief technology officer, U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command. “Cloud One’s ability to run on many different platforms and its feature set enables us to reduce security risks and operate successfully.”
The enemy threat changes – React Fast!
Cloud One already brings together industry and government to deliver best-of-breed technology to service members at the base, in the field, and at the tactical edge, providing unmatched security in even the harshest environments. As Ms. Lauren Knausenberger, Air Force CIO said in a July 2022 FedScoop article: “The short story is we’re not waiting, we haven’t waited, we will continue to not wait for anybody else to come and provide us with capability. We’re moving forward, we’re moving out, we’re continuing to improve Cloud One.”