As video communications is integrated into robots, soldiers, and UAVs, and network-centric warfare becomes the organizing principle of American warfighting, front-line demands for bandwidth are rising faster than the US military can add it. The Transformation Communications Satellite (TSAT) System is part of a larger effort by the US military to address that need, and close the gap.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record – and TSAT is certainly significant. The final price tag on the entire program has been quoted at anywhere from $14-25 billion through 2016, including the satellites, the ground operations system, the satellite operations center and the cost of operations and maintenance. Lockheed Martin and Boeing each won over $600 million in risk reduction contracts to develop key TSAT SS satellite system technologies, and TSAT’s $2 billion TMOS ground-based network operations contract was already underway.
The TSAT constellation’s central role in next-generation US military infrastructure makes it worthy of in-depth treatment – but its survival was never assured. There was always a risk that outside events and incremental competitors could spell its end, just as they spelled the end of Motorola’s infamous Iridium project. This FOCUS article examines that possibility, even as it offers an overview of the US military’s vision for its communications infrastructure, how TSAT fits, the program’s challenges, and complete coverage of contracts and significant events.
The latest developments revolve around the end of the program. Despite a positive recent report from the GAO, TMOS/TSAT are being canceled outright as part of the program’s planned termination:
Governments like umbrella “multiple award” contracts that let them deal with specific areas on set terms. It cuts administrative overhead costs, creates known pools of familiar competitors, and shortens the gap between requests and service. Hence the US Army’s recent announcement of their $497 million Biometrics Operations and Support Services Unrestricted (BOSS-U) multiple award contract awards, run by the Information Technology, E-commerce and Commercial Contracting Center (ITEC4) on behalf of the Biometrics Task Force.
The opportunity was initially announced on May 23/08, and proposals from 12 offerors were received by the closing date of Aug 18/08. The winners were announced in late December 2008, and include:
A team led by ITT Corporation recently announced a 5-7 year contract to perform telemetry, tracking and command services for near-Earth missions under NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Space Communications Network Services (SCNS) contract. The contract has a base period of performance of 5 years and 3 months, with 2 one-year option periods, and a maximum potential value of $1.26 billion if all options are exercised.
ITT has provided engineering services for NASA’s near-Earth communications networks for over 25 years, and provided maintenance and operations support services for its Deep Space Network since 2003. The SCNS contract provides for…
The USA’s Contract Field Teams (CFT) Program quickly deploys skilled technicians on site to accomplishes depot and organizational level inspection, maintenance, modification and repair at operational Government locations worldwide. The program works with each of the USAF’s Air Logistics Centers (ALCs), plus USAF Air Combat Command (ACC), Air Mobility Command (AMC), Air Force Reserves (AFRES) and the US Air National Guard (ANG). CFT contracts can also be used to support the needs of the US Army, Navy, Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other American Federal Agencies. The program started in 1951, and the last contract was issued in 1997, expiring in 2008. Hence the new award.
The US Army makes extensive use of this contract vehicle for Army Aviation Support, and the US Navy operates an aviation fleet that is larger than most national air forces. since the roster of firms involved in these activities is very similar no matter which service is making the request, piggybacking on a fully fleshed out contract and using similar terms and conditions makes a lot of sense. FAA support, meanwhile, involves the repair of navigation equipment, electronics, and other components of civil aviation infrastructure.
Like most multiple-award contracts, the “winners” are really just given an opportunity to compete for relevant task orders. When a specific need arises, the umbrella contract’s extensive terms and conditions are already set, and bids can be offered and evaluated very quickly. That arrangement saves time and money for the military, the firms involved, and ultimately for American taxpayers. At this time $280,000 has been committed, and the contracts will be managed by the 327 ASW/FT at Tinker AFB in Midwest City, OK.
Winners under the new CFT program, with DefenseLINK announcement errors corrected, include:
As of July 2007, Raytheon Technical Services held the US Army contract for live training support, Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) carries the contract for virtual training (simulators), and General Dynamics the one for constructive training (computer models & game-like simulations). More than 3,400 contractors served more than 150 manned sites and 458 unmanned sites with training devices world-wide.
The U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office, Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI) office has been working for the last couple of years on a new approach that does away with the 3 domains, in order to put the full focus on delivering whatever training support is needed and appropriate, in whatever manner works best. The Warfighter Field Operations Customer Support (Warfighter FOCUS) contract would consolidate operations, maintenance, systems integration and engineering support services for the Army’s live, virtual and constructive training systems into a single 10-year, $11-12 billion package once existing contracts expire on Oct 31/07.
On one side was the Warrior Training Alliance (WTA), led by prime contractor Raytheon Technical Services Company LLC and Computer Sciences Corporation. One the other side was the Warfighter FOCUS Alliance (WFA), led by General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Saab. Each team had a roster that included other major and minor players, and DID details both teams below. The winner was the Raytheon-led WTA, and integration is now proceeding…
Paradigm Technologies, Inc. (Paradigm) recently received a $15.7 million Task Order to provide Business and Financial Management Support Services to the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle Joint Program Office in Quantico, Virginia. The Task Order, awarded through the Naval Sea Systems Command’s SeaPort-e, includes a base year and 4 one-year options.
The MRAP Vehicle Program fits with a strong international trend, and seeks to replace vulnerable, flat-bottomed Hummers with vehicles designed from the ground up to resist land mine blasts. It is a Joint, Acquisition Category (ACAT) 1D program that is currently the number 1 Department of Defense priority program, with a DX priority rating for materials that is usually reserved for items like nuclear submarines. The program is currently in the procurement phase, and is valued at about $25 billion over Fiscal Years 2007 – 2009. The Joint Program Office (JPO) is led by Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Virginia.
Under this contract (N00178-05-D-4486-EH02), Paradigm is teamed with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) to provide comprehensive Business and Financial Management support to the MRAP JPO, in order to support the successful execution of the MRAP Vehicle program. This kind of support usually comes from professionals with domain experience – in this case, business and financial management support personnel with extensive ACAT 1 program experience. For further background context, see also the recent US GAO report covering the Pentagon’s use of contractors for acquisition assistance, and likely trends in this area.
FORTUNE Magazine has released its annual list of America’s Most Admired Companies, and a number of defense-related firms find themselves noted in the data. To quote FORTUNE re: their methodology:
“The Most Admired list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations. Our survey partners at Hay Group started with the FORTUNE 1,000 – the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue – and the top foreign ones operating in the U.S. Hay sorted them by industry and selected the ten largest in each. To create the 63 industry lists, Hay asked executives, directors, and analysts to rate companies in their own industry on eight criteria, from investment value to social responsibility. Only the best are listed as most admired: A company’s score must rank in the top half of its industry survey. Ranks for the rest of the contenders are available online only.”
The criteria evidently managed to completely exclude key global defense & aerospace players with notable US businesses/revenues, including BAE Systems and EADS (which includes Airbus & Eurocopter). This is a major pair of omissions, to say the least. Methodology flaws aside, firms that made the cut in their sectors and do a lot of work in our industry – or were on the receiving end of cutting ratings – included:
I protest, you protest, we all protest ITES. So it seemed after the US Army chose 11 of the 17 bidders as winners, eligible to compete for $20 billion worth of defense-related IT contracts under the ITES-2 umbrella vehicle. Northrop Grumman is probably glad that it protested – not only did it win re-admittance to the winners circle (along with all other eliminated firms), but it just landed a key battlefield logistics contract that could be worth up to $600 million.
Under the Global Combat Support System-Army (Field/Tactical) program (GCSS-Army) contract, Northrop Grumman’s Mission System sector will lead a team (NGC MS, IBM Global Services, Computer Sciences Corporation, Joint Logistics Managers, Inc., and SAP America) to implement an enterprise system capable of providing the current status of all Army equipment and assets so that soldiers can best anticipate, allocate and manage the flow of available resources. CGSS-Army will be a global system that supports Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve forces, re-engineering the current STAMIS (Standard Army Management Information Systems) system. As a key element of the Army’s larger vision for the integration of its major logistics systems and processes, GCSS-Army will also be important in the management of logistical assets of future programs. If it was up and running now, for instance, it would be used to track MRAP-related logistics.
NGC received initial funding of $10 million on this cost plus fixed fee task order, which is valued at up to $600 million over 7 years. NGC release.
It is said that amateurs study tactics, while professionals study logistics. Analysts study procurement, because this is where the decisions are taken that affect both the range of thinkable tactics, and the logistics infrastructure that underpins them. Hence the importance of programs like the USA’s newly-launched Defense Transportation Coordination Initiative (DTCI).
At present, the US Department of Defense’s shippers in the continental US (CONUS) are handled by individual depots, bases, and other locations. Each location independently selects the transportation modes, level of service, and transportation providers they need, and so multiple information systems are employed to execute and manage shipment activity. There is no centralized planning, coordination, or control. The system works, because each shipment is managed. Is it as efficient as it could be? No.
Hence DTCI, which is focused on increasing operational effectiveness, while simultaneously obtaining efficiencies by reducing cycle times, and using best practices such as increased consolidations / load optimization and modal conversions. The premise is for DoD to competitively award a long-term contract with a world-class transportation coordinator/coordinator(s) that will help it achieve these goals, leveraging current commercial capabilities and proven practices save up to 20% as it manages, consolidates, and optimizes freight movements. In the business world, this growing trend is called 3rd Party Logistics (3PL).
The DTCI contract has a multiple phased implementation approach – which DID describes below in our Spotlight article, along with the program’s history & issues faced, the recent announcement of a winning team, the known competitors, and a collection of useful reference resources…
Computer Sciences Raytheon received a contract for $816.2 million for Eastern Range Technical Services to provide operations, maintenance, sustainment of critical range and launch processing systems that support the launch processing mission of the 45th Space Wing and its launch customers at Cape Canaveral Air Station. CSR is a joint venture partnership of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and Raytheon Technical Services Company, and they have held this contract since 1988. Cape Canaveral, meanwhile, is famous for being the home site of all NASA space launches; the 45th Space Wing is also busy with other projects.
The scope of this acquisition will include all critical range systems and associated support systems. Service include downrange facilities support, base and range local area network/metropolitan area network (LAN/MAN) service, and other minor technical systems support required for successful range mission accomplishment. At this time, all funds have been obligated. 45 CONS/LGCZR at Patrick Air Force Base FL issued the contract (FA2521-07-C-0011).