General Dynamics IT gets $146.2 million, 3-year contract to consolidate US DoD’s IT infrastructure in the Washington, DC area to a facility in Alexandria, VA as part of BRAC implementation.
Secure entry: BAE Systems gets $95 million order to install and maintain automated security systems to control access to US Army bases.
United Technologies’ Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne snags a $20.3 million contract to design, develop and test a high-performance liquid upper-stage propulsion system that will support early intercept capabilities for MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System.
Modern navies run on computers. Unfortunately, computers don’t last nearly as long as ships, something that’s both a hardware and a software problem. The computer console over there might be up to operating key systems on a billion-dollar warship, but a casual observer might be forgiven for wondering if it would be up to the task of running Pong. Behind that computer, an array of wiring and other mechanical components snake through the ship. They, too, have finite lifespans, but the networks they carry are vital. On top of it all, software systems run key programs, and tie various networks together. Some of those programs must change or be re-created when hardware shifts, while others change when new software replaces them.
All this has to be managed, and warships worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been retired early because their electronics upgrades were seen as too costly. Hence recent pushes toward open-architecture computing on many modern navy ships, built with commercial rather than military-proprietary components. Hence, also, programs like the US Navy’s future CANES (Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services), designed to streamline and update shipboard networks, to improve interoperability across the fleet.
What to do until CANES? Enter the Common Afloat Local Area Network Infrastructure (CALI) effort:
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: