US military taps cloud computing in Afghanistan

The US military is shipping cloud computing infrastructure to Afghanistan where its secure network will be used to provide US soldiers with critical surveillance data.

According to Lt. Gen. Richard Zahner, the components – which are being packed into mobile boxes – will soon start to play a “key role” in networking for soldiers in the sky and on the ground.

“We now have a government-owned cloud set,” Lt. Gen. Zahner confirmed during a Biometrics conference in statement quoted by Network World.

“[As such], we’re leveraging cloud technology where it’s needed.”

Zahner explained that the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) routinely makes use of private cloud computing in the US for military purposes.

However, the above-mentioned deployment marks the first time military-administered cloud computing equipment has been physically shipped to Afghanistan.

“The goal is to get precise and relevant information to the warfighter,” he said.

When assembled, the Army’s cloud computing nodes will comprise a terrestrial IP-based network that includes 3G, wireless and advanced security infrastructure designed to cover Afghanistan’s rugged terrain.

Multiple edge nodes for brigades and battalions are also scheduled for deployment, with a number of the nodes expected to be reserved for aerial vehicles on extended surveillance missions.