13 Nov 03. The UK MoD is expected to announce a down select for the multi-billion Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) project on November 24th. Industry groups questioned by BATTLESPACE are unsure whether the down-select will be down to two or three consortia. On 26 June 03, the UK MoD announced that four industry groups have been shortlisted for the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) project. These include the Atlas consortium of EDS, Fujitsu Services, Cogent Defence and Security Networks, General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited and LogicaCMG, a Lockheed Martin consortium, a CSC Consortium and the IBM-led ACTUS Team.
The DII project will replace numerous individual information systems throughout the MoD with a single, more efficient information innfrastructure. It will allow many of the defence efficiency measures under the Defence Change Programme to be pushed though. These include network-enabled capability – the ability to improve the capability of the armed forces through a single network of information announced in the Strategic Defence Review.
DII will also extend into the operational arena, interfacing with battlespace systems and improving shared information between battlefield support, headquarters and the front line. The expectation is that DII will allow greater interoperability between MoD and its allies, allowing more effective operational support than is currently available.
BATTLESPACE Editor, Julian Nettlefold, visited CSC at its new sumptuous HQ at the Royal Pavilion site in Aldershot. (See CSC Result, News in Brief) Simon Knowles said that CSC is confident of getting to the next stage of the programme. “We are very strong in the U.S. military outsourcing market since our acquisition of Dyncorp,” Knowles said, “We already run the largest outsourcing contract for a Federal Agency and have recently been down-selected for the German infrastructure requirement worth $6bn. We are no stranger to the UK with key corporate clients such as the Post Office and BAE SYSTEMS, the UK market is worth £1.8bn per annum to CSC. BT is a major partner of ours in the DII bid and the Post Office contract where 1500 people have been transferred here to run it.” Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) is leading a consortium made up of BT, consultancy Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Thales.
“It will be crucial to deliver a successful business programme, not just an IT service,’ said CSC director of defence business Rick Drury. ‘Our consortium brings together proven programme management skills, financial strength and more than 30,000 relevant staff,”.
Comment: All bidders have been asked to provide a solution for the fast transfer of information across the military infrastructure. It is not clear at this time where DII ends and where tactical communications begins. One solution championed by the Royal Signals Blandford establishment suggested that the way forward for constant and successful communications was for soldiers to be able to carry their work laptops to the battlefield, where unfiltered and protected from radiation they could be ‘hidden in the noise’, to prevent any radiation detection by enemy troops. However, this concept fell on stony ground during Operation Telic in Iraq, when a large number of standard laptops became filled with sand and a number were damaged by vehicles.
BATTLESPACE will be running details from other successful bidders during the coming weeks.