In August 2001, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, UT a sole-source, 5-year, maximum $150 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The lab will work with MDA to develop electro-optic sensor systems, and space rated instrument and payload development data, while providing “essential engineering, research, and development capabilities and services in the development of the Ballistic Missile Defense System.”
Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory is a university affiliated research center sponsored by MDA, and they’ve been developing electro-optical sensors for over 5 decades. Their work has been used in such diverse applications such as star cameras, sounding rocket experiments, orbiting satellite and small-satellite platforms, UAV and aircraft-borne systems, and ground based facilities. Work will be performed in Logan, UT; Huntsville, AL; Colorado Springs, CO; and Fort Belvoir, VA, from August 2011 through August 2016. $1,070,442 of the MDA’s FY 2011 RDT&E budget will be used to incrementally fund the 1st task orders under this effort. US MDA in Huntsville, AL manages the contract (HQ0147-11-D-0052).
The USAF uses its simplified acquisition of base engineering requirements (SABER) contract to fulfill engineering requirements on a variety of projects, ranging from small renovations to large scale infrastructure needs involving pipelines, electrical substations, and life safety issues.
The SABER contract’s main purpose is to expedite contract award of civil engineer requirements through the issuance of individual delivery orders. The contract contains a collection of detailed task specifications that include most types of real property maintenance, repair, and construction work. A number of SABER contracts have been awarded.
The proliferation of UAVs and fighters equipped with stabilized, high-magnification video pods and imaging radars has a number of corollary consequences. Bandwidth has become a key battlefield constraint. Specialized reconnaissance fighter aircraft are a dead concept. And some poor analyst has to sift through the video tsunami at the other end, in order to find items of interest.
The USA is using a number of approaches to help deal with the flood, and one unconventional approach involves a DARPA project called VIRAT (Video Image Retrieval and Analysis Tool). It doesn’t recognize faces, perform before/after analysis, or rely on rewinds. Instead, it aims to distinguish certain types of behaviors, so it can provide alerts to intelligence operatives or ground forces during live operations.
US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic in Charleston, SC recently issued cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery /indefinite-quantity, multiple award contracts to 7 universities, who will compete for task orders. Up to $30 million may be requested over the base year and 5 option years, in exchange for “…technical and maintenance services to obtain analytical and technical support services, and research and development efforts from undergraduate and graduate students and faculty… in support of advanced research and development projects on behalf of multiple customers in the South East region to include, but not limited to, SPAWAR Atlantic.”
These educational institutions will compete for the task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. Work will be performed in Charleston, SC (40%), Norfolk, VA (30%), and New Orleans, LA (30%). Work is expected to be complete in September 2011, and could continue until September 2015 if all options are exercised. The multiple award contracts were competitively procured by full and open competition via the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website, with 8 offers received. The 7 winners were:
Clemson University in Clemson, SC (N65236-10-D-6834)
Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA (N65236-10-D-6835)
Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA (N65236-10-D-6836)
University of New Orleans in New Orleans, LA (N65236-10-D-6837)
University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL (N65236-10-D-6838)
University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC (N65236-10-D-6839)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Institution in Blacksburg, VA (N65236-10-D-6840)
Four teams get up to $100 million in DARPA funding to develop superfast supercomputers. (Aug 6/10)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) was set up in 1992 to modernize DoD’s supercomputing capabilities. The HPCMP was assembled out of a collection of small high performance computing departments run by the services, each with supercomputing capabilities independent of the others.
The HPCMP brings these capabilities together. The program provides supercomputer services, high-speed network communications, and computational science expertise that enables the DoD labs to develop new weapons systems, prepare US aircraft for overseas deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, and assist long-term weather predictions to plan humanitarian and military operations throughout the world…
Kirkland AFB, NM recently entered into a cooperative effort with the University of Hawaii of Honolulu, Hawaii under the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (PanSTARRS) multi-year program.
PanSTARRS will address numerous science applications ranging from the structure of the Solar System to the properties of the Universe of the largest scales. It will also be able to detect and catalog large numbers of earth-orbit crossing asteroids, or near earth objects (NEO) that present a potential threat to mankind. That last component to the mission is especially intriguing, as there is a long history of partial efforts in this direction within the US and elsewhere. So, where does this award fit in?
Carnegie Mellon has long been one of the USA’s best universities for computer science, and was well known in those circles long before Prof. Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture made it more broadly famous around the world. Platforms like Alice are gaining wide traction for teaching computer science, and their Capability Maturity Model for software development has become a certification goal for many defense industry systems integrators. On the security side, their Software Engineering Institute’s Computer Emergency Response (CERT) group remains one of top public resources in the world for computer security, and their CyLab is a multi-disciplinary cybersecurity education and research center, involving 6 colleges from Carnegie Mellon, over 50 faculty, and over 130 graduate students.
The SEI was established in 1984 at Carnegie Mellon University as a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) dedicated to advancing the practice of software engineering and improving the quality of systems that depend on software. Their CMMI defines 5 levels of proficiency under a Total Quality Management approach; most commercial organizations are at Level 1 or Level 2. Through its sponsor, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, the SEI carries out its mission by focusing on software engineering management and technical practices.
The Applied Physics Laboratories at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA received a $120.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity task order contract for up to 657,115 staff hours. Multiple appropriation types will be utilized throughout contract performance, and no funds are obligated by award of this contract, only on individual task orders. A contract option could bring the cumulative value of this contract to $257.4 million for up to 1,314,230 staff hours. Work will be performed in Seattle, WA, and is expected to be complete by April 2015. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC (N00024-10-D-6618).
The lab does a lot of civilian and military work, and even civilian programs like the Regional Scale Nodes Project ocean observatory would expand ocean access in ways that apply to both civilian and military systems. APL-UW will provide research, development, and engineering to US NAVSEA in 7 core competency areas that NAVSEA has deemed essential to support a variety of specific military programs. While this sort of work is less visible than buying a $700 million Littoral Combat Ship/ frigate, the combined effects of these efforts could be very significant in maintaining the US Navy’s future edge:
In February 2009, the USA’s Missile Defense Agency instituted the Missile Defense Advanced Technology Innovation (ATI) Program to:
“…identify and develop innovative concepts, stimulate technology innovation, and exploit breakthroughs in science to offer robust technology improvements to all elements of the [missile defense system]… The MDA contracts with private industry, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations for research in those areas covered in this BAA… MDA does not have a specified amount of funding available for BAA awards, however, if MDA decides to pursue a concept the appropriate level of funding will be identified, and a final proposal will be requested by a MDA Contracting Officer in writing.”
That was pretty vague and non-committal, but it did lay out key research areas, and invite ideas. A February 2010 update to the solicitation has added some clarification around the involvement of “foreign persons.”
The great Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu observed, “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”
This appears to the thinking behind the US Defense Advanced Research Agency’s (DARPA) new National Cyber Range (NCR) program.
DARPA is teaming with industry to develop technologies that will enable US personnel to simulate attacks on the USA’s cyber networks, which include most IT and computer systems as well as the infrastructure that depends on those systems, and devise strategies to thwart those attacks. By constructing advanced simulations, DARPA hopes the NCR will enable US defenders to anticipate attackers moves and outthink the enemy.
DARPA began the program in January 2009 with the award of 7 contracts for phase I NCR development; the agency recently awarded contracts for phase II…