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Technology Is Needed to Maintain Crucial DISA Operations

DISA directorates on the front line of tactical operations and network management seek innovation from industry.

As part of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA's) annual Forecast to Industry, several leaders outlined specific technology needs for tactical operations support, communications and network management. Speaking at AFCEA’s TechNet Cyber virtual conference on December 3, Col. Chris Autrey, USAF, chief, Defense Enclave Services (DES) Directorate at DISA, presented expected solicitations in support of the Fourth Estate Network Optimization Program, which he is leading.

The main effort of the program is to consolidate the various commodity or common information technology (IT) networks of the 14 defense agencies and field activities—commonly known as the Fourth Estate—under a single service provider, which is DISA. The project evolves the existing DISANet into the developing DODNet 2.0 network, Col. Autrey explained. Accordingly, the directorate has two key solicitations planned for fiscal year 2021, including the main DES Fourth Estate Commodity IT contract. This procurement activity will be a single-award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract. DISA plans to release the request for proposals soon and make an award in the first quarter of FY22. At least 20 percent of the effort is earmarked for small businesses, the colonel noted.

The second contract to support the Fourth Estate Network Optimization Program will procure audio visual, visual information and video teleconferencing services for four of the defense agencies and field agencies, Col. Autrey specified. That effort will seek proposals in the second quarter of this fiscal year, with an expected award in the third quarter.

In addition, DISA has several contracting opportunities to support its Operations Center, which provides the infrastructure for the Defense Information Systems Network and manages land and sea transport and satellite and mobility gateways for warfighter connectivity, explained David Bennett, director of Operations at DISA. As for services, the center provides rapid delivery solutions for mission critical enterprise systems, as it operates the computing ecosystem. Regarding cyber operations, the center directly supports the U.S. combatant commands and operates the command and control of the agency’s portion of DODIN. The center also supplies cloud solutions and access.

Eric Jackson, civilian deputy, DISA Infrastructure Directorate, cited three infrastructure contracting opportunities over the course of the next fiscal year. “The first of our opportunities is for DISN consolidated provisioning,” he noted. The contract, which is expected to be solicited later in FY21 and awarded in the middle of FY22, will provide support to the agency in provisioning circuit actions for various customers. The next opportunity centers on IT project management and providing technology for the DODIN. In addition, the Infrastructure Directorate is looking for financial management support services, Jackson stated.  

Tony Purvis, chief, Computing Ecosystem, DISA Operations Center has nine different solicitations that will be released over the next fiscal year to support the agency’s computing ecosystem, including mainframe, servers, infrastructure and sustainment, data centers, workload implementation, cyber services, communications and special services. “The ecosystem really is a complete lifecycle management of the DISA data centers going from strategy all the way through deprecation,” he said.

The industry capabilities needed for the computing ecosystem in FY21 range from technical server support to cyber vulnerability management, virtual desktop infrastructure, mainframe support and aircraft maintenance system support, among other efforts, Purvis reported.