In January 2012, US Army Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS) issued 9 firm-fixed-price contracts, worth up to $249.8 million total over 5 years, for Enterprise Cloud Computing services. Cloud computing is a about providing computing applications and management as a service, rather than installing it as machine-specific software. Apple’s iCloud is one well-known example, and Google’s Gmail would be another, but cloud computing can encompass more than just 1 application. It’s connected to the phenomenon of virtualization, which improves back-end efficiency in data centers, but the 2 trends can exist independent of one another. The 7 contract winners are:
It’s 2020. A US soldier sits down with a village sheikh, with an unusual robot in tow. The sheikh greets him courteously, respectfully, in flowing Arabic. At the appropriate time, the robot offers the same speech in English. The soldier nods, speaks, and gives a command, whereupon the robot offers dependable translation that’s even customized to the local dialect. Offshore, an intelligence analyst sorts through a combination of intercepted emails, recorded cell phone conversations, and document archives, looking for patterns and connections. She’s not fluent in Arabic, but the same technology used by the soldier is providing usable translations for her searches – asking her questions as needed, and helped by embedded clarifications and tags.
Thanks to a 2003 DARPA program, The world got to know Siri, the show-stealing component of Apple’s iPhone 4S. DARPA’s 2011 BOLT program aims to take the next step, from a silicon intermediary between man and machine to an intermediary between people. Even as it also provides a powerful back-end translation system for traditional intelligence tasks. It’s one of a family of ongoing translation research efforts, all aiming to solve a persistent and expensive problem for the US military.
The US Army in the 21st century is an army on the computer and the network. Whether in a Kabul command post, on a Kandahar patrol, or at a Pentagon desk, the Army relies on desktop and laptop computers to stay connected and access intelligence.
Army laptops and desktops are made by the same companies that supply computers in the commercial marketplace: HP, Dell, Apple, Samsung, and others. To get the best deal on COTS computers, in 2005 the Army instituted the consolidated buy (CB) program, which enables Army customers to get laptops, desktops, and other computer equipment at bulk prices, even if they only purchase one at a time. The program is intended to save the Army money and ensure that computers purchased comply with Army IT technical and security standards. The Army estimates that its CB program has saved it millions of dollars on purchases of computer equipment since 2005.
This article examines the Army’s CB program for buying laptop and desktop computers, printers, and peripherals, and the contracts awarded to implement the program.
The term “cloud computing” has been floating around the commercial IT sector for a number of years. It describes how large-scale computer infrastructure can tap the power of the Internet to perform complex tasks. Cloud computing allows organizations to save money and increase flexibility by using shared IT resources, such as applications, storage devices, and servers.
The DoD wants to tap into those benefits. In May 5/09 testimony [pdf] before a US House panel, Pentagon cybersecurity official Robert Lentz offered the following prediction about the benefits of cloud computing for DoD:
“A cloud is…an ideal place from which to make capabilities available to the whole enterprise. While, in the DoD, we have encountered challenges moving towards a service-oriented architecture (SOA), in the private sector, companies like Google and Salesforce are basing their business models on an insatiable public hunger for software and applications as a service. Emulating their delivery mechanisms within our own private cloud may be key to how we realize the true potential of net-centricity.”
This article examines the development of cloud computing and how DoD is tapping into that technology for its computer networks, as well as the challenges faced by DoD in its effort:
Satellites are currently big, expensive to build and launch, vulnerable, impossible in practice to upgrade on-orbit, difficult to replace – and critical to military effectiveness. That’s a really bad combination. Now add program risk and cost inflation driven by those issues, as the military tries to launch the most advanced technologies it can, in a uniquely ‘no fail’ environment.
DARPA’s System F6 program aims at nothing less than a revolution in satellite technology, aimed at removing those constraints. If successful, it will develop and demonstrate the basic building blocks of a totally new space architecture, in which traditional integrated satellites are replaced by clusters of smaller, cheaper, wirelessly-interconnected space modules that form a “virtual” satellite.
With over a half million US soldiers in uniform, the US Army has the formidable task of providing human resources (HR) services to all of them. To help with this massive HR requirement, the Army uses contractors.
The primary office that handles HR outsourcing is the Army’s HRsolutions Program Office launched in 2004. HRsolutions manages 4 competitively awarded HR contracts in the areas of studies and analysis, recruitment and retention, personnel services and support, and management and administrative support.
HRsolutions recently awarded 12 multiple-award indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contracts for the HR studies and analysis program, worth up to $1.3 billion in total, for the period 2010-2015. The office expects to award HR contracts in the other areas in the next few months.
The commercial IT sector has been using “cloud computing” for a number of years. Cloud computing is a term that describes how large scale computer infrastructure can tap the power of the Internet to perform complex tasks.
Cloud computing allows computer users to realize efficiency and cost savings by using shared IT resources such as applications, storage devices and servers that are delivered as services over the Internet.
The US Air Force wants to tap this technology for its complex IT needs. An obvious problem for the Air Force is the security of accessing information from remote locations not on its secure servers. The Air Force has tasked IBM to come up with a solution to this problem…
When you think of military healthcare, you might picture MASH doctors performing surgery on wounded soldiers. Or you might picture a US soldier injured by an IED being rehabilitated in a hospital state-side.
You probably don’t think of computers, networks and Web sites. But modern healthcare, whether military or civilian, depends on information technology for all of the advanced medical technology to work together seamlessly.
To procure military IT, the US Department of Defense developed a contract vehicle called the Defense Medical Information Systems/Systems Integration, Design, Development, Operations and Maintenance Services (D/SIDDOMS 3) contract. Just rolls off the tongue, don’t it.
While hardly Shakespeare, the contract vehicle enables US military services and the US Department of Veterans Affairs to buy medical IT equipment and services through task orders from a group of eager contractors operating under an $8 billion contract ceiling…
In late December 2006, the German Federal Armed Forces commissioned a consortium consisting of Siemens Business Services (SBS) and IBM to modernize and manage its non-military information and communications technology under the HERKULES project. A company called BWI Informationstechnik GmbH (BWI IT) has been formed in Meckenheim near Bonn, Germany to supply the relevant IT services. Siemens and IBM hold 50.1% of the shares in a 25.05%/ 25.05% split, while the German Federal Government holds 49.9%. The Bundeswehr is represented on the board of directors, and the consortium is open to audit by the military, the German Defense Ministry and the General Accountants Office.
The 10-year contract is now worth approximately EUR 7.1 billion (currently about $9.3 billion), including value added tax. This is touted as the largest current public-private partnership (PPP) in Europe, and up to 2,950 German Federal Armed Forces IT employees will be working within the project. After 10 years, BWI will revert to 100% Bundeswehr control. The project is underway, but rising costs are leading to rumbles about cancellation:
From the Hydra to the Stables: Bids, and Responsibilities