WASHINGTON, D.C. ― During a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing Thursday on the Department of Defense budget, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) questioned Defense Secretary James Mattis, Under Secretary Of Defense David Norquist and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford on ensuring transparency and justification for the Depart of Defense’s $10 billion cloud computing contract and stressed the urgency of completing and announcing a cyber deterrence strategy.
During the hearing, Heinrich raised concerns with the Pentagon’s announcement that it intends to bring all of its computing services under one cloud in a $10 billion contract, instead of allowing multiple tech companies to play specialized roles in a broader multi-cloud architecture.
Heinrich pressed Secretary Mattis on why the Pentagon is rushing the process for a Request for Proposal (RFP) despite concerns from Congress and leaders in the technology industry that the proposal is misguided. Heinrich pointed to the language in the latest spending bill that requires the Secretary of Defense to submit full justification for executing a single-award contract. In response to Heinrich’s call for transparency and accountability in the proposal, Secretary Mattis committed to providing justification for the Department’s proposal in a report to congress prior to issuing an RFP.
Heinrich also reiterated the need for a cyber doctrine to deter future foreign interference, emphasizing the urgency relayed by combatant commanders appearing before the committee. Secretary Mattis urged Congressional leadership on a cyber doctrine and called on Congress to guide the various agencies forward. Heinrich has led bipartisan efforts to strengthen cybersecurity in America and protect against foreign threats, and recently led a group of bipartisan Senators on the Senate Armed Services Committee urging the completion and announcement of our nation’s cyber deterrence strategy.
A list of witnesses and testimony, and the archived webcast of today’s hearing will be available here.