25 Apr 04. Martin Southgate, Managing Director of the EDS-led Atlas Consortium bidding fore the multi-billion MoD DII infrastructure requirement gave BATTLESPACE an update on the progress of its bid. There are now two consortia bidding, the Atlas consortium and the Radii consortium led by CSC. (We will give a Radii update in a later issue)
The complexity and risk outlined by Southgate and his team explains the reluctance of Lockheed Martin to join the final bidding teams.
“The DII bid is divided into three sections:
1. A Deployed Demonstrator which will come into service 6-12 months after contract award expected in the first quarter of 2005.
2. The Battlespace equipment allocations
3. The remaining Corporate applications.
In addition to EDS and Fujitsu Services, Atlas also includes three other key members: Cogent Defence and Security Networks, General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited and LogicaCMG. No one single Atlas member company will account for a majority of the workload, in accordance with the MoD’s procurement criteria.
Under the Atlas banner, the five companies bring together a unique combination of skills, experience and capabilities in successfully delivering major public
sector and military projects in the UK and worldwide.
Southgate told BATTLESPACE, “Atlas is one of the most distinguished, capable and experienced teams ever assembled for this type of undertaking. DII is a huge and challenging assignment, which very few organisations are capable of meeting. “We support the MoD’s assessment that diversity of supply – and avoiding single point of failure – is imperative to the success of this procurement.”
”DII is a business to battlefield concept, “Southgate continued, “The Atlas team recognise the complexities of wiring up a huge variety of systems into a seamless information infrastructure. In addition we get paid on results so if the system does not work, we do not get paid!” The existing JOCS and PJOCS Command and Control infrastructure contracts currently managed by EDS will eventually be absorbed into DII with new hardware as will other projects.
DII will enable the MoD to better to exploit its information assets for both operational and business purposes. At present the Department and the Armed Forces operate a wide variety of information systems acquired piecemeal over a number of years. This not only leads to inefficiencies in the conduct of Departmental business processes, and obstacles to meeting e-Government targets and legislative requirements, but also hampers the ability of the Services to operate together as they are increasingly required to do in the modern strategic environment.
One huge challenge facing the teams is the management of bandwidth and the priority given to users. As the system includes an ability for the armed forces to contact home by kiosk phone, surf the web and send emails, the bandwidth provisions for DII require prioritizing of traffic to favour defence applications over civilian ‘chat’. In addition Atlas has recognised the requirement for Crypto and security on what is essentially a system ‘wide open for hacking’, thus the inclusion of EADS’s Cogent segment with its wide knowledge of crypto systems already utilised on the UK Bowman programme.
The numbers are huge, 170,000 access systems from handheld thru laptop to rugged computers meeting the requirement of 300,000 users. The exact breakdown of numbers of different systems has yet to be decided but Atlas told BATTLESPACE that they will range from handheld PDAs to high powered rugged computers.
The aim of the DII programme, currently in its assessment phase, is to update and merge individual information systems to provide all staff with a common platform for business applications, enabling many current paper-based processes to be replaced by equivalent electronic services.