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Defense

Small Businesses Awarded Information Dominance Contracts

July 11, 2014

Spry Methods Incorporated, Arlington, Virginia (N65236-14-D-4158); Gateway Ventures Incorporated, Norfolk, Virginia (N65236-14-D-4159); Gemini Industries Incorporated, Burlington, Massachusetts (N65236-14-D-4160); and MH Harbor LLC, North Charleston, South Carolina (N65236-14-D-4161), are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price, with provisions for cost-plus-fixed-fee task orders, performance-based multiple award contract for the procurement of Information Dominance Program and financial management support services. The cumulative, estimated value (ceiling) of the base year combined is $33,326,967. The contracts include options, which if exercised, would bring the cumulative value (ceiling) of these contracts to an estimated $99,980,901. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, South Carolina, is the contracting activity.

Army, Navy Hardware Influence Air Force Satellite Links

July 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

When the U.S. Air Force needed a new secure satellite communications system, one company was able to show up at the starting line with an 80 percent solution based on an existing product line serving the Army and the Navy.

InfoReliance to Support Defense Threat Reduction Agency

July 11, 2014

InfoReliance Corporation, Fairfax, Virginia, has been awarded a time-and-materials and firm- fixed-price contract (HDTRA1-14-F-0017) with an estimated maximum amount of $8,932,350 for Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) in support of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Directorate of Information Operations (J-6). The contract award was made off the General Services Administration schedule. There are only six vendors who are licensed to provide MCS; Defense Threat Reduction Agency solicited all six vendors, and received two quotes and one no bid. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 research and development and operations and maintenance funds. Work will be performed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, at the DTRA facility with a July 8, 2016, completion date. The contracting activity is Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

After the Storm: Calm or Paralysis?

July 9, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The 2013 U.S. Defense Department’s budget woes have been called “the perfect storm,” but it’s time to come out of the storm cellar.

We Really Have a Failure to Communicate

August 1, 2014
By Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, USA (Ret.)

Recent reverses in Iraq and Afghanistan have led some experts, both appointed and self-designated, to complain that the facts on the ground may be bad enough—and they are—but far worse is the ignorance of the U.S. citizenry on what supposedly is really at stake in sand-blasted Mesopotamia or on the stony heights of the Hindu Kush.

The Future of Modeling and Simulation for U.S. Army Tactical Networks


August 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center has created a system to streamline testing, rid unneeded and redundant analysis and even eliminate duplicative spending. The new system addresses the challenge of how technological advances to some Army tactical equipment have outpaced improvements program managers can use to test changes to equipment before fielding.

It is all part of the up-and-coming Modeling, Emulation, Simulation Tool for Analysis (MODESTA), touted by Army officials as a holistic tactical modeling and simulation program used to test the functionality and compatibility of future technologies either with each other or with legacy systems. It provides a large-scale, tactical network analysis environment so engineers and analysts can conduct realistic, operational scenarios on live hardware, such as tactical radios, routers or satellite dishes. “As all of these network nodes are moving around on the battlespace, it becomes quite complex,” says Dan Duvak, the division chief at the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). “So a system-of-systems approach, and an early systems engineering approach to tackling new technologies and how they work with existing technologies in the field, is really what we’re getting after.”

It Might Be Virtual, But It Is Not a Game

August 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Virtual training for U.S. Army soldiers advanced in both capability and fidelity recently with the release of Virtual Battle Space 3. Designed for units at the company level or below, its flexibility makes it applicable to the range of Army missions, reducing costs and logistics needs for users.

Tackling Big Data With Small Projects

August 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Army officials envision a future in which ground and air platforms share data and where soldiers at a remote forward-operating base easily can access information from any sensor in the area, including national satellites or reconnaissance aircraft flying overhead.

U.S. Army Explores Push-Button Networking

August 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army’s current tactical network delivers a wide range of capabilities for warfighters, including unprecedented communications on the move. But the complexity can overwhelm commanders who have countless critical tasks to complete and soldiers’ lives in their hands. Future tactical networks will automate many processes and may be smart enough to advise commanders, similar to JARVIS, Iron Man’s computerized assistant.

The Army’s current networking technology includes Capability Set 13, a package of network components, associated equipment and software that provides an integrated capability from the tactical operations center to the dismounted soldier. It supports Army warfighters in Afghanistan and provides a host of capabilities not offered by the wide area network in use as recently as 2012. The Army has fielded the capability set down to the company commander level with a package known as the Soldier Network Extension, which delivers some challenges along with the added capabilities. “The company commander is trying to maneuver around the battlefield, and he’s trying to command a company, and he has these new pieces of kit that he has to learn how to use, and it’s complicated. That’s part of the problem,” says Jennifer Zbozny, chief engineer for the Army Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical. “If you had an iPhone with an interface you didn’t understand, and you had to do a million things and log on a million different ways, you’d probably get tired of it and decide it’s not worth the effort.”

Defense Acquisition, Meet Moore’s Law

August 1, 2014
By M. Thomas Davis

The United States had a pressing need for a new defense capability. That was what many thought, but as is often the case in a democracy, not all agreed. The debate went on for some time, but it finally was settled, and Congress approved a large sum of money to design and field the new system.

Then, there followed additional debates: How many systems are needed? What are the key performance characteristics? Who should build it? After considerable, often contentious discussion, a request for proposals was published, responses came in and there was a selection. The selection, however, was not without controversy, and a protest was lodged. Once the protest was resolved, a contract was awarded that required production be spread to six different localities in six different states. The first efforts to gather the needed construction material were unsuccessful, leading to cost overruns, schedule delays and ultimately congressional hearings. Fortunately, at the end of this long and laborious effort, the system was delivered and proved to be world-class when tested in combat against a fully capable enemy.

Does this seem familiar? Is this story from recent experience? It could be the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), or perhaps the Littoral Combat Ship, or maybe the Next Generation Jammer. But actually the story comes from Ian Toll’s fabulous book Six Frigates, which recounts in great detail the acquisition of the U.S. Navy’s first six combat vessels in the 1790s. One of those ships, the USS Constitution, known as “Old Ironsides,” still is moored in Boston Harbor, a continuing testimony that as tortuous and contentious as this early acquisition was, it succeeded.

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