The Army is promising another major push to migrate its existing systems to the cloud over the coming fiscal year, and it’s planning a very large contract that’s meant to accomplish just that.

The forthcoming contract vehicle, called Enterprise Application Modernization and Migration (EAMM), is expected to be worth about $1 billion, and the Army hopes to make an award by the end of June 2023, Dr. Raj Iyer, the Army chief information officer, told reporters Tuesday. The service intends to structure the agreement as an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, with spots for multiple vendors.

Iyer said the Army’s intent with EAMM is to create an “easy button” commands can use to migrate their systems to the cloud.

“Right now, there’s not a single contract they can go to, so they’re doing a lot of shopping through multiple contracting centers to find the right vehicle, and it takes them nine months before they actually get on contract,” he said. “And if you have to wait nine months, you’re likely now in a new fiscal year, and you don’t have the money anymore.”

Under EAMM, the Army believes it can shorten the award time dramatically, issuing task orders for all the services a system might need to migrate to the cloud in as little as four weeks.

The Army plans to operate the contract out of its existing Enterprise Cloud Management Agency, which will simplify not just the contracting process, but help inform commands on their technical options for a successful migration.

“[We’ll be] holding their hands. It’s no longer just telling the commands, you’ve got to go figure it out,” Iyer said. “We’ll help them migrate, all the way from architecting the cloud solution, working through migrating the data, the contract vehicle, and so on.”

Also on Tuesday, the Army finished an update to its 2020 cloud plan, with the latest iteration emphasizing the need for a seamless cloud environment that spans across commercial cloud providers, Army private clouds, and hybrid models that straddle both worlds. It also calls for a further reduction in Army enterprise data centers, reducing the total number to five. The previous plan envisioned six.

The planned reduction in government-owned facilities is part of what’s behind the renewed focus on cloud migration. Iyer said the Army made a fair amount of progress in 2022, when it migrated about 100 systems. But that still leaves roughly 3,500 operating in Army data centers.

And Iyer said it’s simply not feasible or cost-effective to find new homes for all of those those systems and applications, so some will have to be killed off.

Last year, the Army did just that with 66 separate systems, including two large enterprise resource planning systems. In 2023, the service aims to sunset another 103. The final decisions on what to keep and what to kill are made by the Army Business Council, co-chaired by Iyer and Gabe Camarillo, the undersecretary of the Army.

Iyer said the decisions are based mostly on how the council assesses a particular system’s business value and technical maturity. Legacy systems perceived as not delivering important functionality to a large population of Army users that are also badly out of date are prime targets for cancellation.

“If there’s no path to getting it modernized because we have no need for it, and there’s other systems that are coming up behind it, they are on a path to be killed,” Iyer said. “The other piece we’ve found is that we had a lot of applications people had built for things like travel approval or time cards — things we can do [as an enterprise] — but every command just went out and built their own application. So it’s a combination of good governance and getting a little draconian at times where needed.”

Separately, but also in the spirit of delivering more IT services as an enterprise, the Army awarded a nearly $1 billion contract to centralize its helpdesk and IT service management functions in the final days of fiscal 2022.

That 10-year enterprise service management portal contract will use ServiceNow’s platform to consolidate all of the Army’s helpdesks between now and 2025.

“We’ll be looking at converging hundreds and hundreds of helpdesks into a single enterprise construct — a single service catalog — and the army will be serviced by a single set of metrics and standardized processes,” Iyer said. “This is how industry does that if you look at any of the large companies that are global in nature and support hundreds of thousands of users. That’s how they do it, and the Army’s never been able to do it, but FY 23 is when we’re going to start operationalizing. It will be a multi-year effort, we have the construct in place, the governance in place, and the contract in place to implement it across 1.2 million users worldwide.”