recommended reading

DISA plans a single global network contract

Toria /

The Defense Information Systems Agency unveiled Wednesday a bold plan to develop a single, cohesive global network by 2020 that will include all types of wired and wireless communications, with voice, video and data zapped around the world on a 100-gigabit-per second backbone, 10 times the speed of the circuits it uses today.

This new strategy fits with a call by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to develop a “global networked approach to warfare” in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Tuesday.

DISA, in a request for information to industry, said it plans to replace its current network transport contracts with a single vehicle that will include Wi-Fi, cellular, satellite and broadband fiber-optic data circuits. In a detailed explanation of its future network vision, DISA said that by 2020 it expects to operate a network with “ubiquitous” 100-gigabit-per second circuits, and may require circuits that operate at speeds as high as 400 gigabits per second.

DISA said the new network contract will replace its $3 billion Defense Information Systems Network Access Transport Services contract awarded in 2006 to AT&T Inc., Qwest Government Services Inc. and Arrowhead Global Solutions Inc. for service in the United States as well as two contracts focused on service in the Pacific and Asia. The DATS contract expires in 2016. The contracts for network communications in the Pacific and Asia include the $2.5 billion Defense Information Network Transmission Services Pacific contract awarded to Verizon in 2009, which expires in 2019, and the $250 million Joint Hawaii Information Technology Services contract awarded to AT&T in 2006, which expires in 2016.

In the past, DISA has purchased network hardware such as switches and routers separate from transport, but the agency made it clear the new contract also will cover hardware.

Though DISA signed an agreement with the General Services Administration in August 2009 for GSA to manage all its satellite bandwidth acquisition, the RFI said the agency may use the new contract vehicle to acquire end-to-end services, which includes teleport receiving stations. DISA said it also could use the new vehicle to acquire satellite dishes.

Currently, all four services have multiple contracts for cellular systems. Under DISA’s new network plan, it would provide global broadband wireless communication for Defense Department users. “In most cases, these wireless services would be managed by the commercial service provider,” DISA said.

DISA envisions an integrated wireless network that includes local Wi-Fi and national and international cellular systems. “The 2020 time frame goal is to enhance secure wireless communication services to provide the user with transparent, integrated seamless mobile service across cellular, wireless wide area network, wireless local area network and satellite boundaries providing service availability to the warfighter that is transparent to the infrastructure used,” DISA said.

Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting, said DISA wants to use the new contract vehicle to drive down network contract prices to commodity levels. He expected all the major telecommunications carriers to bid on the new contract, and pegged its value at $1 billion a year, or $5 billion over an expected five-year contract.

(Image via Toria /

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.