The U.S. Defense Department will deploy version 1.0 of its unclassified mobility capability on January 31 with plans to expand the capacity to support up to 100,000 users by the end of the fiscal year. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is the lead agency for the program and has made substantial progress toward delivering the capability.
All the challenges vexing a modern military—budgetary limitations; information technologies; cyber; and joint and coalition interoperability—are defining operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Covering more than half the Earth’s surface and comprising dozens of nations, the vast area is rife with geopolitical rivalries that complicate efforts at regional security. And, the one domain that knows no geographic bounds—cyberspace—weighs heavily on the success of potential warfighting operations in that region.
Military people like to look at themselves, and it has nothing to do with vanity. Rather, it is about improving, but the attention is not always welcome at the business end. Senior personnel offer the usual advice: Cooperate and learn. Do not be defensive. Looking at ourselves can only make us better, so we go along with it. And often—not always, but enough to matter—we find out important facts we did not know.
U.S. military officials may delay the next iteration of the Pentagon’s premier acquisition reform initiative, Better Buying Power 3.0, which likely will continue to improve service acquisition and exportability processes.
This rarely happens, but for 2014, defense and technology analysts are in agreement that big data and cybersecurity are the two drivers in planning and investment for information technology, both in government and in industry. Most everything else will be enabling these two key capabilities. While much attention has been focused on the threats and work being done globally on cybersecurity, I want to focus on big data.
Big data is critical because, unless it is collected, analyzed, managed and made ubiquitously available, many analysts and decision makers will be buried in information they cannot use effectively in a timely fashion. It also is the starting and ending point for many of the technologies and capabilities we care about: networks, data centers, cloud initiatives, storage, search, analytics and secure access
The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has updated its maritime joint command and control guidance, reflecting changing practices across the fleet. Although the rewrite is part of regularly scheduled reviews, the timing is apt for world conditions. U.S. attention is moving east to a far more watery environment than the one the country has focused on for the last dozen or more years, and contentions among nations for waterway control continue to mount in areas such as the East China Sea.
The success of Operation Damayan, the massive Philippines typhoon relief effort by the U.S. Pacific Command, owes as much to preparation as to execution, according to a U.S. official involved in the operation. Military communications equipment designed for easy entry and quick activation provided essential networking capabilities. Longtime multinational and bilateral exercises laid the groundwork for interoperability, both technological and organizational, between U.S. and Philippine armed forces.
U.S. Navy officials expect to award a full-deployment contract for a new shipboard network this spring, and they plan to install the system on nine ships this year. The network provides commonality across the fleet, replacing multiple aging networks, improving interoperability and driving down costs. The Common Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program represents a new business model for delivering capability to the fleet, Navy officials say. The program consolidates five legacy networks into one, which enhances operational effectiveness and provides better quality of life for deployed sailors.
An upgrade featuring a lightweight sensor and software system added to smaller unmanned vehicles can provide capabilities similar to those available on larger vehicles. As the Defense Department realigns its operational focus to the Pacific, deployable forces, such as special operations teams and Marine Corps expeditionary forces, need high-quality airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. While such capabilities are normally provided by unmanned aircraft such as the MQ-1 Predator, smaller platforms have to meet this need for troops operating in remote areas. These smaller vehicles require fewer personnel and are easier to maintain, but they are also less capable.
The Boeing Co., Huntington Beach, Calif., has been awarded a $7,131,719 firm-fixed-price contract for Combat Survivor Evader Locator (CSEL) contractor logistics support 2014-2017.
BriarTek Inc., Alexandria, Va., is being awarded an $8,070,975 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for supplies and services for the procurement of the Man Overboard Indicator (MOBI) Ship Installation Support System, logistics and training services. The overall objective of the MOBI program is to outfit each ship with a system capable of alerting the crew to a man overboard event, so that a lifesaving rescue can be affected.
Airtec Inc., California, Md., is being awarded a $9,477,860 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N68335-13-D-0010) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services in support of the U.S. Southern Command. The contractor will provide ISR services utilizing two contractor-owned, contractor-operated aircraft, with government furnished property previously installed on the aircraft.
Systems Engineering Support Co., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded an $18,626,453 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00039-14-D-0003) for production of Navigation Sensor System Interface (NAVSSI) hardware. NAVSSI collects, processes, integrates and formats distribution positioning, navigation and timing data for weapon systems, combat support systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems and other information systems users.
Raytheon Co., McKinney, Texas, was awarded a $36,789,509 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to procure second generation forward looking infrared (2GF) hardware and support services to preserve the Army's 2GF sensor industrial base. Army Contracting Command, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W909MY-14-C-0011).
L-3 Communications Systems West, Salt Lake City, Utah, has been awarded a maximum $85,485,879 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for procurement of spare and component satellite terminal parts. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., (SPRBL1-14-D-0001).
Soldiers involved in the January 6-February 19 Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) will help decide what technologies will be used on the battlefield of tomorrow. The ninth annual exercise, Spiral I, incorporates more than 60 technologies in various stages of development, including Nett Warrior, unmanned aircraft and robotic ground vehicles, all of which are designed to help soldiers do one thing: perform their missions more effectively.
Raytheon Co., McKinney, Texas, is being awarded a $10,510,029 firm-fixed-price contract for nine multi-spectral targeting systems for Royal Danish Navy MH-60R/S helicopters. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-12-G-JQ66-0037).
PTFS was recently awarded a five-year, multi-million dollar contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) GEOINT Research Center (GRC) for a program called ILS Next. ILS Next replaces NGA’s legacy Voyager library management system which has been in operation for more than a decade. PTFS is supplying its commercial-off-the-shelf ArchivalWare Digital Library System (DLS). PTFS will help replace the legacy Voyager bibliographic cataloging system with ArchivalWare DLS.
TTT-Cubed Inc., Fremont, Calif., is being awarded a $26,983,588 ceiling-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of hardware, repair, and modification services for the development, integration, and operational support of countermeasure and emitter threat simulator systems for the Airborne Threat Simulation Organization.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected eight teams eligible to receive up to $1 million to continue their work following the conclusion of the agency’s Robotics Challenge trials. The robots performed a series of eight simple tasks, such as walking a short distance or cutting a hole in a wall, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Florida.