The Washington Times carries a story noting that the US State Department has canceled its installation of about 16,000 personal computers made by Chinese company Lenovo (formerly IBM’s PC division). The State Department had already installed about 900 of the PCs on its secure network in Washington, and at embassies around the world.
The move follows strong objections from the bi-partisan U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. It has significant implications for agencies and companies in the national security sector.
IBM Corp. won an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract with a 5 base year + 5 option years cycle, and a ceiling price of $370 million. IBM will provide IT support services for the Defense Commissary Agency’s Commercial Advanced Resale Transaction System (CARTS), supporting worldwide operations for nearly 275 stores and replace the existing point-of-sales system used at checkout. The contract was solicited on a full and open competition basis, and four proposals were received by the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization at Scott Air Force Base, IL (HC1013-06-D-2005).
The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Commissary shoppers save an average of 30% or more on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings DeCA officials estimate at about $2,700 annually for a family of four. The Army News Service has an article about the new system.
The Global Autonomous Language Exploitation (GALE) program aims to develop computer software technologies that can absorb, analyze and interpret huge volumes of speech and text in multiple languages. The idea is that automatic processing “engines” will convert and distill the data, delivering pertinent, consolidated information in easy-to-understand forms to military personnel and monolingual English-speaking analysts in response to direct or implicit requests. GALE will consist of three major engines: Transcription, Translation and Distillation.
As an aside, we suspect that many decision-makers would be even more pleased to have a system that displayed this capability with computer, business, and military jargon/acronyms.
Contracts under this Defense Advanced Research Project Agency program include…
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is now home to two of the most powerful computers on the planet: the ASC Purple supercomputer, and the Blue Gene/L. After three years in development and time running scaled-down versions of these systems, the supercomputers have come fully online over the past few months and were recently dedicated in a ceremony at the nuclear research facility. The computers are under the management of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Advance Simulation and Computing (ASC) program office, which oversees computing in U.S. national laboratories.
ComputerWorld reports that Blue Gene/L, which has more than 130,000 processors and a theoretical peak capacity of 367 trillion floating point operations per second (TFLOPS), is being used to study the movement and behavior of molecules. Each processor in Blue Gene has more computing power than a 1988 Cray supercomputer, and the system’s actual performance is expected to be 270-280 TFLOPS, beating out an earlier 136.8 TFLOP earlier version of Blue Gene/L that was ranked as the world’s #1 supercomputer in June 2004. The machines are now being marketed more generally by IBM, at a starting price of $1.5 million for a 5.7 TFLOP eServer Blue Gene. The 12,000-processor ASC Purple, meanwhile, is intended for nuclear weapon simulations. It has a theoretical peak capacity of 93 TFLOPS, which is about 50% greater than NASA/SGI’s Columbia (the No. 3-ranked supercomputer in the last Top 500 survey). ComputerWorld has more.
General Dynamics Canada, along with its Australian partners ADI Limited and Tenix Defence, has been selected as the Preferred Prime System Integrator for the first phase of Australia’s Battlespace Communications System (Land) project, referred to as JP 2072. Phase I is valued at AUS $97 million (USD $74 million), and the project as a whole has a potential value of AUS $800 million (USD $608 million) if all options are exercised.
Five bidding teams had emerged in this competition:
The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk Detachment in Philadelphia, PA continues to issue cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contracts in support of the implementation of the Department of the Navy (DON) Financial Improvement Plan (FIP). These contracts were competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, and nine offers were received. The FIP is a corrective program designed to achieve an unqualified audit opinion for its Annual Financial Statements.
Initial contracts with a one-year value of $72.4 million were issued recently to SAIC and IBM Consulting, with options that could expand their combined total to $212.7 million over several years. These two contracts are cumulative with a combined $72.4 million in contracts issued on March 15, 2005 to Bearing Point and Deloitte Consulting LLP, with options that could raise their combined long-term value to $213.5 million.
The U.S. National Science Foundation expects to provide almost $19 million in funding over five years to the TRUST (Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology) consortium. The aim of TRUST’s research is to create new technologies – and perhaps even new social institutions – that will make it possible to build computer software and networks that are inherently secure. “Security” here means not only protection against outside attacks, but also reliability of service and preservation of data.
Academic institutions involved are Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Mills College, San Jose State University, Smith College, Stanford University and Vanderbilt University. Industrial and other partners are Bellsouth, Cisco Systems, ESCHER (a research consortium that includes Boeing, General Motors and Raytheon), Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Qualcomm, Sun Microsystems and Symantec.
Under the terms of an $8-11 billion deal, a consortium led by EDS will consolidate the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s existing information networks into a single infrastructure under the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) plan. The strategic goal is to facilitate communication between military headquarters, battlefield support and front-line operations by linking roughly 150,000 desktop computers and 340,000 individuals in some 2,000 locations. The budget for all three stages is GBP 4 billion (USD $7.6 billion), and add-on work could total another USD $3 billion…
Boeing plans to eliminate its Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) division, folding it into a new Satellite Development Center under Boeing’s Space and Intelligence Systems. Boeing has formed component-provision alliances with IBM and Alcatel Space for processors, routers, channelizers and steerable antennas as part of its policy of reducing in-house activity to focus on key competencies. The move will separate the struggling commercial satellite business from Boeing’s growing government-satellite work. The company continues to believe that the U.S. government satellite market will grow from $7.5 billion in 2003 to about $17 billion in 2013.