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17 Dec 03. The U.K. Ministry of Defence announced the downselect for multi-billion pound Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) requirement to a shortlist of three bidders.

DII potentially valued at £4B over 10 years, will ultimately deliver a fully integrated and networked IT capability to the fingertips of the UK’s Armed Forces. It is a major integration project involving over 300,000 users, hundreds of applications and more than 150,000 access devices at over 2000 locations around the world and is the basis of the MoD’s vision for the effective sharing of information and collaborative working.

In its Investment Strategy for 2002, the MoD stated: “We intend to put in place a Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) to enable us better to exploit our 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.

“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.”

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.

Lord Bach, Minister for Defence Procurement, said: “This project will help streamline the business and the operational capability of the MoD and we are delighted with the level of interest from Industry. We look forward to a tough competition between the 4 Industry groups which all have strong UK connections and are announced today. We fully expect that this competition will result in a solution that offers excellent value for money.”

Bob Quick, MoD Project Manager, said: “In delivering a single information infrastructure to the MOD, we are seeking to use commercially available technology and althouggh it is a large and complex project, it is not therefore novel. It is the ability to maintain business continuity and then the associated business and process change which will be challenging”

These are, The Radii, Atlas and Lockheed Martin Corp. consortiums which will move onto the next stage of the DII program. The MoD is expected to announce its preferred bidder late next year.

The Radii group comprises CSC (Computer Sciences Corp.), BT Group PLC, Thales U.K. and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.

In response to the news of being selected to move through to the next stage, the CSC-led Radii Consortium comments:

“We are delighted to have been chosen to go through to the next stage of the DII procurement process,” said Gary Mellor, CEO of the Radii consortium. “We have worked hard to develop a flexible partnering framework which is focused on delivering tangible benefits to the MOD by infusing the very best in solutions and service delivery capabilities. We will support these with best in class technology, knowledge and programme management expertise from the UK and around the world and in particular with our unparalleled US experience in the Defence sector. We look forward to the next stage of the competitive process and to the potential of working with the MOD to provide the 21st century information services that our Armed Forces deserve.”

Lockheed Martin meanwhile is teaming up with Deloitte Consulting, Hewlett Packard, Qinet

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