News Briefs

August 17, 2009

DISA and GSA Partner for Acquisition
A Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) partnership for commercial satellite communication services will save federal, state and local agencies as well as companies millions of dollars while offering these organizations more options. Targeted service areas include transponded capacity, subscription services and end-to-end solutions. The agreement will provide customers with a single platform for accessing communications services and has an estimated value of more than $5 billion over 10 years. The Schedule 70 contract revision is scheduled for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010; the draft indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity request for proposals release is targeted for the second quarter of fiscal year 2010. Read more about this news on SIGNAL Scape.

Service Invigorates Nuclear Enterprise
The U.S. Air Force has activated the Air Force Global Strike Command. The command coalesces the service’s strategic nuclear forces, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and nuclear bomber forces under a single commander. Combatant commanders soon will have the forces to conduct strategic nuclear deterrence in global strike operations through ICBM, B-2 and B-52 operations. The Air Force also has established an air staff directorate to ensure clarity and consistency for the nuclear mission at headquarters. In addition, a nuclear panel has been created to advocate for resources for the nuclear mission; a nuclear sustainment has been unified under the Nuclear Weapons Center, and an executive-level nuclear oversight board has been established.

Turn Your Computer Off
Federal government and industry employees are being asked to turn off their computers and peripherals when they leave the office on August 27. The 2nd Annual Power IT Down Day could save the federal government more than $20,000 in one night—and that’s assuming only 1 percent participation. Over the course of a year, this simple act could save the government $8.5 million. The request comes from a four-company alliance that includes Microsoft and Intel. As a tangible example of what the money saved can accomplish, the alliance will donate at least $20,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Barracuda Flies Over Canada
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed and manufactured in Europe has successfully passed a series of tests in Canada. The Barracuda UAV, designed by the European Aeronautics Defense and Space Company (EADS), is an experimental platform engineered to test autonomous flight operations in a network-centric environment. The tests allow the UAV to be adapted to a variety of future missions. Developed to meet German government specifications, the jet-propelled Barracuda flew its tests from the Goose Bay Air Base, Newfoundland.

Upgraded Cruiser Completes Operational Trial
The USS Bunker Hill completed the Combat System Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) on July 29. The ship recently was modernized with Aegis Advanced Capability Build 08, which is critical to the Aegis Weapon System’s transition to an open architecture platform. The Bunker Hill is the first of 22 Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers to receive the upgrade, making the CSSQT completion a critical milestone. During the next several years, the Naval Sea Systems Command will manage the ships’ modernization, which will include new software, combat systems and other upgrades aimed at increasing ship functionality.

New Soldier Gear Passes Milestones
The U.S. Army’s Ground Soldier Ensemble (GSE), a situational awareness system for individual soldiers, has completed two major milestones and is nearly ready for production. The GSE provides soldiers with a digital map image of their location and the location of friendly units. Manufactured by Raytheon Company, the GSE links dismounted soldiers to battlefield networks via their personal radios.

Service Revises Acquisition Implementation Plan
The U.S. Air Force has completed a comprehensive restructuring of its installation acquisition implementation strategy, or Installation Acquisition Transformation. Factors such as the recession, failed infrastructure and information technology upgrades, and lessons learned from other efforts caused Air Force officials to re-examine the implementation efforts. The revised plan calls for a new organization that is aligned with the Air Force Materiel Command and will focus on strategic sourcing. The plan also provides a redefined approach that allows strategic sourcing benefits to be realized sooner, and it will use market research to shape requirement and sourcing decisions.

International Missile System Ready for Tests
The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) has successfully completed the critical design reviews for all of its major components. Developed by Germany, Italy and the United States, MEADS is a mobile missile system that will replace the Patriot missile in the United States, Nike Hercules missiles in Italy, and the Hawk and Patriot systems in Germany. MEADS is designed to permit full interoperability between U.S. and allied forces. As part of the critical design review, the missile system will undergo tests at the White Sands Missile Range beginning in 2012.

Navy Announces Undersea Training Range Site
Jacksonville, Florida, will be the location of the U.S. Navy’s latest undersea warfare training range (USWTR). When complete, the range will cover approximately 500 square nautical miles. It will be capable of gathering real-time information to improve the service’s analysis of antisubmarine warfare training scenarios, tactics and procedures. In addition, ships, submarines and aircraft will use the range to train in a littoral environment. The Navy continues to conduct the necessary environmental impact studies; the range is scheduled to be operational in 2014.

Program Teaches Stress-Reducing Skills
The U.S. Army is working to improve the resiliency of its soldiers through a new program scheduled to begin in October. The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program is designed to strengthen soldiers emotionally, spiritually and socially, increasing their ability to handle stress. The demands placed on soldiers during wartime demonstrate a need for coping skills. The program will be incorporated at all levels, from basic combat training to the War College. Fort Jackson, the largest initial-entry training installation in the Army, has been testing parts of the program.


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