Pentagon plans ‘war-cloud’ computing system for the military

Think of it as “The Terminator” meets your iCloud. The robots aren’t taking over just yet, but the Pentagon could be bringing us one step closer, thanks to a new project dubbed the “War Cloud.”

The official name is JEDI: Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, a plan by the Pentagon to build a cloud computing system for the military. The so-called “War Cloud” will store and crunch vast amounts of classified data and let the military use artificial intelligence to speed up war planning, and enhance fighting capabilities. It can also be used for strategic war games, playing out potential conflilcts in a virtual world to give us an early look at what the outcome could be. 

Though it may all sound a little science fiction, there are two real world tech giants battling it out for the big $10 billion dollar contract, and the department of defense says it will be a winner-take-all bidding process.

But going to one platform could also be a security risk, since it would give hackers one target to focus on.  Oracle and IBM have already been cut from the competition due to security and infrastructure concerns, and Amazon may not make it to the finish line either, despite an already-existing high-security cloud contract with the CIA. 

Oracle is now considering a legal challenge, saying the Pentagon is too cozy with Amazon. But one officer familiar with the details said that will simply delay a useful project and quote “hamper our critical efforts in A.I.” The good news – the Pentagon does have some flexibility.  The initial contract is set to last 10 years, but officials have an option to go with another company after two years if things aren’t working out. 

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