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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

New Army intelligence system in the works for Middle East operations

The Army has started work on a new contract as part of its so-called "DCGS" battlefield intelligence program with a focus on warfighter needs in Afghanistan,  Kuwait and other parts of the Middle East.

Current services are provided under a contract with Palantir and the Army wants to stay with a commercial approach, according to solicitation documents. Palantir fought hard and won a court battle to provide the intelligence system as a commercial solution versus a custom-built one.

Palantir is providing data management, ingestion and analytics support through a commercial offering that covers hardware, software and services. The Army wants to add new capabilities including creating a unified interface that combines intelligence and operations.

Under that commercial model, the hardware would be owned and operated by a vendor that will determine what needs to be in the U.S. and what needs to be fielded outside of the country. The goal is to maintain availability of at least 99 percent. The system also needs the capacity for 200 or more concurrent users. The Army called that number its baseline.

“The current hardware footprint is dynamic and is based on user demand and mission needs,” the Army writes its request for information. “In general, the current capability is hosted on commodity hardware, tactical servers, and in a cloud environment from over 10 locations world-wide. The current solution stores tens of millions of enriched data objects accumulated over the course of a decade, and processes thousands of new objects each day.”

Equally robust is the picture on the software side. Palantir has enterprise data warehouse and analytics software with intelligence workflows and tools that support collection and analysis of combat information. This includes analysis of improvised explosive devices threats. It also search capabilities such as geo-searches, heat mapping and density plotting.

For services, Palantir maintains the accreditations needed to operate on unclassified and various classified networks. With the new contract, the contractor is responsible for maintaining its accreditations. The contractor would also provide training to soldiers already deployed and those getting ready to deploy. There also is helpdesk support.

The Army also is looking for some new capabilities such as automated data synchronization across of its networks using a vendor provided cross-domain solution that is accredited or approved to operate on all of the networks.

Palantir's current solution is described by the Army as “predominantly an intelligence solution.” The new solution much include workflows that pull together intelligence and operations into a single platform, with a single user interface and an integrated suite of tools.

The solution also must be fully integrated and interoperable with a "SMART" system provided by Palantir.

Interested contractors should submit white papers that address the hardware, software and services components as well as the transition from the current Palantir capability. This includes moving the data, which is in a proprietary format. The white paper also must describe how the solution will integrate with the SMART system and describe how it is a commercial solution under the FAR 2.101 definition of a commercial item.

The Army also wants an estimated cost for 12 months, based on the assumption that this will be a firm-fixed price contract.

Responses to the RFI are due March 19. The Notice ID in Beta.Sam.Gov is W56KGY20R00AA..

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 20, 2020 at 9:40 AM

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