How the Pentagon clouds its future

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Before D-Day, Gen. George Patton commanded an army that didn’t exist. His First U.S. Army Group was supposedly training around East Anglia. It featured phony tanks so German spy planes could report on them. It kept up a steady stream of radio traffic so German spies could track the movements of troops. And it featured divisions that seemed to be preparing to invade Calais.

It was all a ruse, a diversionary tactic to keep the Germans from realizing the actual invasion would happen at Normandy. And it worked. When the real invasion started, the Germans reacted more slowly than they could have to shift troops to Normandy. They were still waiting for Patton’s strike that would never come. By the time they realized they’d been duped, the Allies had an unassailable beachhead and began sweeping across Europe.

Anyone in the military understands the value of diversionary tactics. Make everyone think one thing is going to happen in one place. Then go in a different direction entirely. By the time they react, you’ve already won the day. Is there a diversion happening, right now, with the future of cloud computing?

Let’s review some key developments. For most of this year, the Pentagon has been taking heat over its plan to choose a single cloud computing provider and give that company a long contract. The winner would control all military cloud computing for as long as 10 years. This is a bad idea for many reasons.

It would put all Defense Department data in the hands of one company, where it might be vulnerable to hacking.

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