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
The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk awarded 3 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contracts, worth up to $103.2 million, to provide decision support services for the Navy Personnel Research Studies and Technology Division of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) in Millington, TN.
The BUPERS organization serves to provide administrative leadership, policy planning, and general oversight of the Naval Personnel Command. BUPERS’ Navy Personnel Research Studies and Technology Division conducts research and develops technologies to recruit, retain and manage Navy and Marine Corps personnel.
Each of the 3 contracts contains a 1-year base period with two 1-year option periods. The 3 contractors and their contracts are:
The IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY won a $9.7 million cost-reimbursement contract modification to support the intelligence analyst research effort called Rosetta: An Analyst Co-Pilot.
Rosetta will tightly couple speech transcription, language transition, and adaptive, multi-source information distillation in ways that permit English-speaking intelligence analysts to focus on and understand the most important information in their area of expertise.
Rosetta is IBM’s name for the work it is doing under the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) Global Autonomous Language Exploitation (GALE) Program, according to DARPA’s Jan Walker…
IBM Global Business Services in Bethesda, MD received a 5-year, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract with a ceiling of $20 million for the Special Operations Resource Business Information System (SORBIS), which will provide enterprise business system tools for the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). This is intended to improve the command’s planning, programming, budgeting, execution, and program information reporting. The ordering period will be completed in August 2014. The contract number is H92222-09-D-0048.
SORBIS will help USSOCOM prepare the annual budget it submits to the US Congress…
Apptis in Chantilly, VA won a $132.9 million time and material task order to provide management, engineering, integration and acquisition of U.S. Army command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) systems worldwide. Apptis will provide the systems to the Command Center Upgrades/Special Projects Office, which is part of Team Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems (TEAM DCATS). Work is to be determined by mission requirements with an estimated completion date of June 30/11. For the contract, 16 bids were solicited and 3 bids received by Army Contracting Command in Alexandria, VA.
Located at Fort Monmouth, NJ, TEAM DCATS manages more than 100 projects that support soldiers, major commands and combatant commanders worldwide. Projects include strategic satellite communications and wideband control systems, long-haul terrestrial microwave and fiber optic communications systems, tech control facilities, Combat Service Support Communications systems, critical power infrastructure, command center upgrades, base radios and combat vehicle intercom systems.
“One of the biggest challenges facing the new administration, as well as future administrations, is the effective acquisition of complex products… This report examines contracting for complex products by reviewing the U.S. Coast Guard’s experience with its Deepwater Program… a major “system of systems” acquisition to upgrade and integrate the Coast Guard’… Important elements are missing from the Deepwater story, notably the impact of contract management and the behavior of each party within the IDIQ(Indefinite Delivery/ Indefinite Quantity) contract design… Although Deepwater has garnered headlines for some of its stumbles, a more complete review of the early phases suggests a more mixed and balanced record.”
DID has covered numerous aspects of the US Coast Guard’s $25 billion Deepwater program-of-programs; “US Coast Guard’s Deepwater Effort Hits More Rough Sailing” offers a good summary of developments to date, and links to most of the key articles. Readers can download the full IBM CBG report [PDF], which recommends more investment in building up the acquisition workforce (a workforce that is often cut short-sightedly when budgets get smaller), which leads to a better understanding of risk drivers. They CBG also recommends a commitment to learning by trying different kinds of contracts for complex systems, ensuring that the contracts can be modified mid-stream in light of experience, and collecting lessons learned.
International Business Machines Corp., of Yorktown Heights, NY received a cost type contract for $2.4 million, under the “Wafer-Scale Graphene RF Nanoelectronics effort.” This effort is connected to DARPA’s CERA(Carbon Electronics for RF Applications) effort. The project’s goal is to investigate 2 challenges that are fundamental to development of high performance carbon electronics for military radio frequency applications in military systems. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages the contracts (FA8650-08-C-7838). At this time all funds have been obligated.
IBM fellow Phaedon Avouris, the manager of Nanoscale Science at the Research Center, explains:
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…
In conventional silicon transistors, a certain finite voltage swing on the order of 150-200 mV (for high performance devices) is needed to switch a device between the on and off states. Reducing that number would enable drastic improvements in power consumption, because modern chips have many millions of transistors – but the fundamental physics of thermionic emission over an energy barrier is in the way.
International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation of NY recently received a contract option for $6.4 million under a DARPA program known as “Steep-subthreshold-slope Transistors for Electronics with Extremely-low Power (STEEP). The goal is to develop novel transistor technologies based on non-thermionic switching, allowing manufacturers to build high-performance logic circuits with very low power consumption. At this time $4.5 million has been obligated by Det 1 AFRL/PKDA at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8650-08-C-7806).
IBM’s new devices under this DARPA-funded research program will utilize a fundamentally different mechanism of operation based upon quantum mechanical tunneling, which allows them be switched on and off over a much smaller voltage range. Such devices have previously been demonstrated, but only at extremely low performance levels. The goal of this program is to build a device that meets the performance criteria for much higher-performance computing.
Which is nice – but why does this really matter in the field? Consider 3 factors making themselves felt on the front lines, plus one above them, and another behind:
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: