Lockheed Martin nabs $4.6 billion global defense network contract

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The company beat out SAIC, which has held the network contract for 17 years.

This story has been updated.

Lockheed Martin Corp. on Friday won a seven-year contract valued at $4.6 billion for the global Defense Information Systems Network in a competition with Science Applications International Corp., which has held the network contract for the past 17 years.

CenturyLink, which merged with Qwest Communications Inc. in 2011, stands out as the key network provider on the Lockheed Martin team, gaining a pre-eminent position over Verizon, which partnered with SAIC, industry sources told Nextgov. Lockheed Martin also tapped AT&T as a network partner, according to Warren Suss of Suss Consulting.

Lockheed Martin will provide worldwide support services necessary to carry out the day-to-day operations of Global Information Grid networks and related services under the GIG Services Management-Operations (GSM-O) contract, the Pentagon said.

DISA, in a contract document, said, “the core telecommunications capabilities supported by GSM-O enable the warfighter to meet operational needs by providing worldwide telecommunications, supporting natural disaster relief, conducting humanitarian assistance in peacetime crises, regional conflicts, and at the same time executing ongoing strategic deterrence activities.”

This broad description covers a full menu of services DISA needs to provide safe, secure and reliable communications to U.S. military forces operating anywhere in the world. These services include managing the Defense Department’s unclassified, secret and coalition networks, the top-level Red Switch network used by the National Command Authority and satellites service networks.

Lockheed Martin also will support security for these networks and will help monitor, analyze and defend against potential cyberattacks.

The company will provide soup-to-nuts management services. As such, it will be responsible for maintaining the global network, and providing repair parts, software patches for switches and routers, and circuits.

Suss said the switch from SAIC to Lockheed Martin marks a new era for DISA and he expects Lockheed Martin to transform the network management process, with AT&T applying lessons it has learned in its commercial network business to the Defense contract.

(Image via Toria/Shutterstock.com)

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