CONTRACT AND BUYERS GUIDES: 8 Avenues To Smart Buying [BONUS]

Deploying technology is what DISA IT programs do best. Access contracts and services at http://www.disadirect.disa.mil or http://www.ditco.disa.mil.

There is a dichotomy between speed of change in technology in our private lives, versus what can be realistically can be bought and deployed to  the troops in the field.

 

“This is hard to do,” declared DISA CIO John Garing during the July Federal Executive Forum. “We aren’t deploying it and it is being deployed all around us. We have to focus the energy and the power of Web 2.0.”

 

“The senior leadership in DISA spends its majority of time on that one subject,” said Garing.

 

For Garing the question revolves around how do you focus more on suppliers and customers? “We have to find a way to bring this stuff into the environment and equip the young people who are being recruited to work in the military with tools they are used to having at home.”

 

“We need to be able to deploy a warfighting force wherever in the world it is needed and enable it to connect, share and collaborate as it sees fit for its mission, not for something prescribed for them,” said Garing.

 

Fulfilling Needs Through Contracts
To do that DISA approaches infrastructure from 4 perspectives and provides contracting tools needed to fulfill each those needs.

 

DISA purchasing options are available through DISA Direct (http://www.disadirect.disa.mil) or through the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (http://www.ditco.disa.mil).

 

1. Defense Information Systems Networks (DISN)
The first perspective according to Garing is the defense of information systems networks. DISN (Defense Information Systems Networks) contracts provide life cycle support management for the DISN worldwide. These contracts will be re-competed in two years and DISA is deciding now how best to do that.

 

2. Competing Infrastructure (RACE)
In this scenario there is a “fee for service”, where a customer comes to DISA and pays for services provided. “We are moving to a platform environment in which people can bring web services and applications and have a solid back end processing storage networking environment driven by capacity on demand services,” said Garing.

Our mission is to be able to deploy a warfighting force wherever in the world it is needed and enable it to connect, share and collaborate as it sees fit for its mission, not for something prescribed for them.
John Garing, CIO, DISA


Here is where “cloud” computing comes in. While there are differences as to the definition of exactly what “cloud computing” is, two forms have emerged -- utility computing and platform as a-service. These are aimed at IT users and not at business users.

 

This is where the Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE) environment takes center stage. RACE will allow you to buy virtual services and have them provisioned in hours, not days.

 

Using this service, customers can purchase virtual environments through the use of a simple interface with shopping cart like features. By using your PKI or CAC card you can log into the service portal and access a list of services, created from simple components. What this does according to RACE contract provider HP is provide the integration of best of breed products. RACE provides multiple funding options and virtual environments are available in 24 hours from available pre-configured OS and application suites.

 

The RACE has just started and right now it may be best for large computing environments. But look for this model to expand in the future.

 

3. Enterprise Services – NCES
Enterprise services are at the core of DISA’s Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) efforts said Garing.  Building governance structures and sustaining them through repeatable processes that ensure funding is what DISA leadership is working on.

 

In those efforts, NCES reached a critical milestone in June when it successfully achieved a critical acquisition milestone, Milestone C according to DISA. As a result DISA was granted the authority to enter the production and deployment phase of Increment One of the NCES program.

 

According to DISA documents NCES allows users to get more information, more quickly, and with a smaller footprint.  It provides collaboration in real-time voice, text, and video sessions, provides the whole organization access to shared/stored data, and uses an efficient service-oriented architecture (SOA).

 

As a result, NCES can distribute services such as security applications over a network and combine and reuse these applications to create business applications that communicate and coordinate efficiently with each other.  This has great potential in solving difficult, expensive and time-consuming problems in military command, control and planning.

 

DISA says Milestone C is a key step forward in their strategy to deliver core information-sharing services on the Department’s networks not unlike those available on the Internet.

 

4. Command and Control Framework (NECC)
As long as military services build their own command and control, there has to be some layer of abstraction above that explained Garing.

 

“Since we fight jointly there has to be something to unify that and that’s what we do, have systems work together and that’s what we provide with the Net-Enabled Command Capability (NECC).”

 

NECC will be accessible in a net-centric environment and focused on providing the commander with the data and information needed to make timely, effective and informed decisions.

 

The program is founded on a single, net-centric, service oriented architecture (SOA) and will provide the decision support infrastructure that will enable the warfighter to access, display, and understand the information necessary to make efficient, timely, and effective decisions according to DISA.

 

More DOD Contracts, GWACs, Even GSA’s Networx
For DOD buyers, DISA contracting vehicles are one avenue, but there are many others including the Army’s CHESS and Air Force’s NETCENTS among others. (Read about 8 contracting avenues on page sX).

 

And then there are GWACs such as NASA SEWP IV, NIH ECS II and GSA’s suite of GWACs. These contracts are open to all in government and NASA, NIH and GSA have MOUs spelling out that these contracts can be used by DOD buyers.

 

And now entering the mix is GSA’s Networx, which not only offers “next generation” telecommunications services, but also provides a suite of security solutions that could be used by Defense agencies.

 

Whether or not DOD develops its own version of Networx remains to be seen. But as of now, DISA’s Garing is on board with using Networx.

 

“I think Networx is a good source for us and will be a good source for us,” said Garing. While there are issues of bringing things inside the DISA firewall, Networx can be a viable solution for many of DOD’s telecom needs.