DOD seeks outsourced collaboration capabilities

The Defense Department is pressuring itself to deploy a subset of outsourced voice over Internet protocol and unified communications services. Now it wants to know what industry can provide under the time constraints.

DOD must install these broad range of services, deemed Unified Capabilities (UC), to desktop and mobile devices on the non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet) and the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SPIRNet) for as many as 2.5 million DOD personnel. Officials want it done within six to nine months.

DOD is considering a private-solution that is maintained by a third party. It prefers to pay based per user, per month. The result would be a “UC as a Service.” UCaaS would include integrated voice, video, instant messaging/chat, presence, and screen sharing to enable synchronous collaboration for DOD users worldwide on any approved device. The service would be provided using Commercial-Off-The-Shelf products and common industry networking protocols.

To replace the current setup, DOD plans to turn to a converged, net-centric IP-based Enterprise UC environment. The new arrangement would include garrison and deployed environments, classified and unclassified environments, and active duty workforce and civilian and contractors. DOD wants the UC environment to be a global service with the potential to scale to roughly 5 million users in the long term.

DOD sees its systems are getting old. Current communications capabilities are unrelated and are becoming technologically obsolete. Officials continue to see increased sustainment costs from these systems while limiting the options and effectiveness of the communication services available to DOD’s workers.

Meanwhile, employees these days are using more efficient services. They are using time-division multiplexing-based voice and video services, and Instant Messaging, for instance. Offices are using web-conferencing because of budget cuts and travel restrictions. Defense agencies want more of these services too because it helps their productivity.

DOD also sees significant savings through enterprise-level capabilities, such as the IP Enterprise Voice over Internet Protocol (EVoiP), instead of setting up independent services. Officials also see new Cloud-based architectures for delivering fully integrated capabilities faster and more efficiently.

Now, DOD has become more focused on the rapid deployment of a preferred subset of UC features that will deliver as much capability as possible to users in the shortest amount of time. And DOD wants to know what’s available in industry

request for information was released Feb. 28 by the Army Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems Project Director Enterprise Services, the Defense Information Systems Agency, and the Air Force.

The deadline for responses is March 28.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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