The operations specialists on duty listen intently to a radio call-in Coast Guard Sector Southeartern’s command center on Aug. 12, 2016. The initial call that came in is the beginning of a search and rescue case involving three people off Great Point in Massachusetts.

Mar 11 2020

Coast Guard Aims to Move to the Cloud for Intelligence Work

The agency is seeking input from industry on Infrastructure as a Service options.

Like other branches of the armed forces, the U.S. Coast Guard is looking to leverage the cloud to enhance its effectiveness and complete its mission more efficiently. 

The Coast Guard indicated in a recently released request for information that it wants to deploy an Infrastructure as a Service cloud offering to support its intelligence requirements. The RFI notes that the Coast Guard aims to enhance both its data management and international network communications.

The Coast Guard is seeking a cloud service provider to deploy data as a service for its Intelligence Data Service, which it says is integral to a number of intelligence missions the service branch carries out. These include vessel visualization, identification and tracking; the evaluation, analysis and interpretation of data; the development, testing and hosting of different platforms on different domains; and cross-domain solutions.

As FedScoop reports

One of the current systems in place the guard needs support on is the Maritime Analytic Support System, which provides enterprise maritime data distribution. Current data analytics are done through IBM’s i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis tool, a commercial-off-the-shelf product.

The MASS system gives the Coast Guard access to “essential maritime data in an enterprise-level database and application system consisting of numerous capabilities for acquiring, storing, and sharing maritime data” in support of the Coast Guard’s intelligence enterprise, according to the RFI’s draft performance work statement. 

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The Coast Guard Seeks More Cloud Support

For months, the Coast Guard has been highlighting its desire to shift to the cloud. In November, the Coast Guard’s Office of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Systems and Technology issued a separate RFI indicating that it wanted to use the cloud to replace its legacy network, gain access to tools used by other agencies in the intelligence community and improve its handling of data, according to MeriTalk

“Recent geopolitical events coupled with emerging cyber warfare threats have spurred USCG Intelligence to establish initiatives to become more efficient, improve our mission support delivery infrastructure, and transition our aging network assets to a cloud-based environment,” the RFI notes. 

That second RFI called for the provider to share between cloud service providers; assist with developing migration plans; evaluate workforce readiness including knowledge, skills and abilities of users; determine governance needs and identify a path forward to develop and implement a governance model; and develop strategic and tactical roadmaps for the information management program including the MASS modernization effort.

MeriTalk notes that one of the unique requirements of the RFI is the need to work across requirements from multiple areas of government. The Coast Guard needs to comply with policies from its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, but also with policies from the Defense Department and intelligence community.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll/U.S. Coast Guard