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U.S. Air Force moves to the cloud with Collaboration Pathfinder

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo, -- The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO) awarded the Collaboration Pathfinder through competition to Dell Federal Systems, L.P. on 19 Jun 2015 with a Period of Performance starting on 22 Jun 2015.

This pathfinder will leverage a dedicated Department of Defense Microsoft® Office 365 cloud platform that includes significantly improved email, instant messaging, desktop voice/video communications, productivity, and user storage capabilities.

These eServices will enable warfighters to focus on the core cyber mission instead of managing manpower-intensive IT commodities like e-mail and SharePoint®. The move to the cloud will also allow the Air Force to realign critical resources to Cyber Mission areas in a secure and reliable environment.

As noted in DISA's 2014 - 2019 Strategic Plan, cloud computing plays an increasingly vital role in the Department of Defense (DoD), with DISA leading the DoD in teaming with industry to build out DoD public and private clouds, beginning with Defense Enterprise Email (DEE).  Both the Army and portions of the Air Force have moved to DEE.

"Enterprise email 2.0 unclass will be a completely commercial solution," said Terry Halvorsen, speaking Jan. 29 during an industry day at the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C.

Now the Air Force, in partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), is leading the way in exploring the future of secure and scalable cloud-based services delivered by industry partners at an affordable price.  The Collaboration Pathfinder demonstrates the ability to conduct a focused evaluation to ensure the successful integration of industry technologies with DoD systems and operations.

The capabilities of Office 365 allow the Air Force to pursue the next generation of enterprise services in a cost-effective and efficient way that boosts the productivity and collaboration of Service members.  The next generation Information Technology environment will be dominated by users seamlessly connecting to and through the cloud. The lessons learned from the Collaboration Pathfinder will provide metrics to evaluate broader Cloud Service Provider (CSP) solutions.

The Collaboration Pathfinder cloud environment provided by Microsoft aligns with the Joint Information Environment (JIE) and accelerates the Air Force toward a consolidated DOD mobile, messaging, and collaboration platform.

The Collaboration Pathfinder's Office 365 core services will provide a more integrated user experience and a dynamic approach to security, leveraging commercial best practices, while incorporating the unique security requirements of the DOD.