The US Department of Defense has submitted its FY 2008 budget request for $481.4 billion. This is 9.5% more than the FY 2006 request, and 4% more than the $462.8 billion eventually appropriated by Congress in the FY 2007 budget. Note that this is just the first step in a long process that involves bills drawn up in both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, which will add some things, subtract others, and impose conditions. Then the House and Senate bills must be reconciled in committee into one common bill for the President to sign into law. Last year’s FY 2007 budget, introduced in February 2005, was signed into law on October 17, 2006 as Public Law No. 109-364.
The US Congress has also made a conscious decision since 9/11 to fund the Global War on Terror’s operational components via supplemental budget requests. In theory, this separates “normal” pay, maintenance, and new equipment buys from war maintenance, aid to allied governments, and replacements for destroyed or broken equipment. The FY 2007 initial supplemental budget request was $70 billion, and this budget request adds $93.4 billion to cover expenses during the remainder of the year.
Traditional computer infrastructure setup is fairly straightforward: buy the equipment, set up the data centers, plan for future capacity needs, and add or change systems as required. Applied in another sector, it amounts to: “You want power? Build a local generator.” Efficiency improvements are possible, and the US military has been moving to consolidate its server applications as part of that effort. Some civilian sectors have been there and done that – and are now moving toward a different model of computing as a service or utility.
Under that model, those operations are contracted out under an agreement that stipulates certain levels of performance, quality of service, et. al. It requires a different set of skills to manage, shifts risk toward the vendor, and isn’t exactly like the classic utility model because transfer to a different provider is much more difficult and complex. Nonetheless, it does represent a very different approach to addressing I.T. needs. If it works, “utility computing” or “service-based computing” lets I.T. departments add capacity much more quickly, and frees them from the expensive and time-consuming chore of managing servers. Let the vendor who built them do that, goes the thinking, and discover incentives to create or configure computers that need less babysitting. If this sounds like it has parallels with Britain’s “Future Contracting for Availability” approach to defense equipment, that’s because it does.
The USA’s Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) started its move toward a service-based environment in July 2006. A $17 million award to IBM for the agency’s Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) contract will provide DOD customers with instant messaging, low-bandwidth text chat and Web conferencing on a managed service basis. That move has since picked up speed, via over $1 billion worth of fixed-price service contracts under a “utility computing” model…
Computer Science Corp. of Arlington, VA received an estimated $151.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, level-of-effort contract for scientific, engineering, and technical assistance support. These efforts will be part of the USA’s National Team for defense against ballistic missiles. Work will be performed in Arlington, VA and at US Missile Defense facilities, and is expected to be complete by January 2012. The Missile Defense Agency in Washington, DC issued the contract (HQ0006-07-C-0002).
Pegasus Global, Inc in Reston, VA received a $36.9 million firm-fixed-price commercial contract for 1,001 (ea) Revolving Frequency signal jamming systems for use in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. These items jam the signals used to detonate IED land mines from a distance. The tactical challenge of Land mines has been present for hundreds of years; only the technologies used to trigger and counter them are new.
Work will be performed in Reston, VA and is expected to be complete by Jun 2007. The contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Sea Systems Command, Indian Head Division in Indian Head, MD.
BAE Systems Bofors AB has received a SEK 100 million contract (currently about $14.3 million) from the Swedish FMV(Defence Materiel Administration) for the next phase of the 155mm Archer light mobile artillery program, designed to hit targets at ranges up to 60km/ 36 miles. It belongs in the same class as France’s Caesar, South African firm Denel’s G6, Soltam’s Atmos-2000 and Rascal, BAE’s NLOS-C, et. al. The contract includes the next step in the development of the gun system, and product definition phases for an ammunition supply vehicle and modular charges.
The contract follows an SEK 40 million contract in August 2006 for detailed design work, following program approval in June. BAE Bofors has already delivered 2 demonstrator guns that are now undergoing extensive troop trials and tests by the Swedish Armed Forces. The company will now complete final development of the system, and begin production of two battalions (24 guns), with deliveries running from 2009-2011. See BAE Systems release.
Hawkins Construction Co. in Omaha, NB received a $6.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for the Antelope Creek Flood Protection Project. Work will be performed in Lincoln, NB and is expected to be complete by Jan. 31, 2008. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Dec. 4, 2006, and 3 bids were received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Omaha, NB (W9128F-07-C-0001). The project was a Presidential earmark.