Members of government and industry are taking concrete steps to address long-standing problems in the procurement community through plug fests--events that test the interoperability of network devices by plugging them into functioning networks. Various organizations within and outside of government have hosted such programs, but recently a group of public and private partners in the defense industry decided to organize plug fests specifically to address problems in the military arena.
One of the nation’s most critical multibillion-dollar next-generation satellite communications programs is being restructured. After shifting to a fixed-price contract, the U.S. Defense Department is inviting new industry competition for the Air Force’s advanced beyond-line-of-sight terminal program.
Sharing medical information among public and private entities during emergency situations is entering a new age. A consortium of partners has laid the foundation for a national center that will develop protocols and methodology necessary to enhance current capabilities for handling crisis situations.
The wind-down of U.S. Army combat operations, along with the re-balance in national military priority toward the Asia-Pacific region, is forcing a shift as well as a surge in Army networking. The service must continue to modernize the network to meet growing capability demands, but it also must adapt its architecture to accommodate major changes in force deployments and missions.
In the coming months, the U.S. Army will begin fielding components of its first integrated mobile network to units headed to Afghanistan. The equipment package known as Capability Set 13 will provide integrated voice and data throughout the brigade combat team. It also will offer on-the-move and beyond-line-of-sight communications, which could transform combat operations.
Smartphones and tablet computers increasingly are replacing desktop and laptop personal computers as on-the-job tools of choice in the federal government. Such a change not only presents opportunities to improve efficiency and productivity among federal workers, but it also creates information technology management and data security challenges for those who oversee the digital resources of agencies.
Prospective bidders for the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network are facing several balancing acts as they weigh multiple criteria to vie for the multibillion-dollar contract. Issues such as technology refresh, service integration and savings sharing loom large in what ultimately will be the Navy’s primary information network.