News: US Army issues sources sought notice for network technology
Story by Katie Cain
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army, through the System of Systems Integration Directorate, announced that it is seeking interested industry and government sources with mature solutions to enhance existing network systems capabilities to participate in the Network Integration Evaluation 13.1 event, scheduled to occur in October/November 2012 at Fort Bliss, Texas and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The NIE is a series of semi-annual evaluations designed to further integrate and mature the Army’s tactical network, and accelerate and improve the way network technologies are delivered to soldiers.
The purpose of this Sources Sought notice is to identify emerging capabilities to be evaluated against a set of entrance criteria for an opportunity to participate in NIE 13.1. This Sources Sought seeks solutions with a narrow focus on specific identified gaps in the current and evolving networked equipment solution set.
The identified gaps are: Multi-Channel Tactical Radio; Mission Command on the Move; Low-Cost-Low-SWaP Tactical Cross Domain Solution; Joint Participation Capability (U.S. and allies); Aviation Extension; Small Form Factor, Modular Transit Case SATCOM Terminal and Baseband; Mission Command In-Garrison Training; and Improved Operational Energy. Functional requirements for these gaps are listed in paragraph two of the Sources Sought on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
“This Sources Sought notice seeks candidates against a specific set of gaps, rather than the broader areas of specific interest released in the previous two notices,” said Erin Deronghe, division chief of portfolio integration management, System of Systems Integration Directorate. “In the first two NIEs, the Army established a network baseline and is now building upon it—these specific gaps will seek mature material solutions to enhance that baseline. In addition, we are soliciting industry for more non-networked solutions to contribute to more rapid acquisition and fielding of the best of these key technologies to the Warfighter.”
The Army is seeking only those solutions that address the eight specific identified gaps, that are at the representative model or prototype system stage and that have been tested in a relevant environment. "By employing the NIE and agile process, we are providing industry the network framework and architectural concept to develop their systems and capabilities. This new acquisition approach is an aggressive effort seeking mature technology from both large and small industry partners to fill hardware and software need,” said Col. Dan Hughes, director, System of Systems Integration Directorate.
The Sources Sought notification was announced one day prior to the Army hosting an NIE / Agile Process Industry Day at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. The more than 250 industry representatives attending will have the opportunity to learn more about the Agile Process criteria and the integration and testing process that supports the NIE, review the capability gaps that exist, and outline future NIE participation opportunities.
The Army has fundamentally changed the way it develops, evaluates, tests, and delivers networked capability to its operating forces, and is transforming its current acquisition methods through the agile process. The objective is to improve efficiency and effectiveness, reducing the amount of time and resources necessary to respond to the rapid changes in soldier requirements associated with current operations, emergent information technology and modifications to the Army force structure.
This incremental modernization will allow the Army to leverage industry advancements and keep up with the pace of changing technology, while providing a means to integrate the latest networked capability and get it to deploying forces quickly. The new approach will deploy completely integrated network capabilities that will be fielded in two-year increments, closely linked to how deploying brigades train, equip and deploy.
To support this strategy, network acquisition efforts will facilitate rapid implementation of commercial and government technologies to establish a network baseline, and then will incrementally build from it. The Sources Sought notification is the first step to bringing new industry solutions into this process in order to enhance network capability.
Interested industry partners can view detailed Sources Sought information by accessing the Federal Business Opportunities website at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=5827cd32f1391ec8b85ae71bcbfe4e6c&tab=core&_cview=0
The deadline for white paper submissions is Feb. 3, 2012.