The Defense Department’s current networks transfer voice, video and other data at up to 10 gigabits per second, but that’s not fast enough for tomorrow’s Internet of Everything.
The Pentagon’s IT arm recently gave the tech trend du jour more validation with the $4.3 billion Global Network Services contract. The contract aims to provide the Pentagon a 100-gigabit-per-second backbone for all varieties of telecommunications – classified and unclassified – by 2020 that will provide the physical infrastructure necessary to virtually connect more than 1 million DOD and national security users.
The contract has a 5-year base with five 1-year options, meaning it could well provide DOD’s network services for the coming decade. To protect against proprietary vendor lock in and increase competition, DOD awarded the contract to eight vendors that will compete for specific task orders.
Those vendors are: Artel, AT&T, BT Federal, Qwest Government Services, GTT Americans, CapRock Government Solutions, Level 3 Communications and Verizon.
GNS runs in concert with two other large DOD-led efforts.
The first is the $4.6 billion Global Information Grid Systems Management Operations contract, which will update the military’s networks and related services through 2019. That contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions Division in 2012, but thanks to a recent acquisition is now held by Leidos.
The second, the Joint Information Environment, isn’t a contract but rather a movement among DOD and its components to modernize its IT infrastructure for the 21st century. It’s driven by top-down push to share data, applications and services among components in near real time, and to support the warfighter on a tighter budget.
JIE mirrors a similar effort called the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (known as ICITE, pronounced “eyesight) among the 17 intelligence agencies.