DOD renovates systems house
- By Gregory Slabodkin
- Jun 30, 1997
Defense is planning a comprehensive renovation of the Pentagon's information management
and telecommunications infrastructure to transform the building into a modern office for
the 21st century.
Built in the early 1940s, the Pentagon is one of the world's largest office buildings.
It has more than 25,000 tenants and three times the floor space of the Empire State
But it is also home to an outdated and overworked network of communications systems
supported by inadequate wiring and stovepipe information systems that hamper DOD's daily
"Day to day, there are occurrences in the building that cause some kind of an
outage in terms of the IT systems that many of our key decision-makers rely upon for
critical decisions," said Col. Scipio de Kanter, project manager for the Pentagon
Renovation Information Management and Telecommunications Project.
The 10-year renovation program will provide a single backbone communications
infrastructure that will unify the building's multiple, service-unique LANs and network
management centers under a common user infrastructure.
"Almost every department has its own separate LAN, and it's really going to be a
challenge to try to put in a backbone infrastructure," de Kanter said.
The seven-phase program began last July with renovations in an adjacent heating and
refrigeration plant and the first of three segments in the building's basement and
mezzanine levels. The next renovation phase will tackle the first of the Pentagon's five
wedge-shaped sections in January, when the Army Corps of Engineers will start demolition
activities above ground.
According to de Kanter, the building's five wedges provide a natural seam for
installing the communications infrastructure on a wedge-by-wedge basis. The program is
seeking technical and engineering expertise from a contractor that can work alongside the
Army Corps of Engineers as it guts and renovates the building's interior.
Defense released a draft request for proposals in late March for the above-ground
telecommunications backbone. Under the 10-year systems integration contract, a single
vendor will design, install and test commercial network components that will provide a
robust telecommunications infrastructure.
DOD will release the final RFP in August and award the contract by next July.
Telecommunications giants such as AT&T Corp., Bell Atlantic Corp., GTE Corp. and
Lucent Technologies Inc. are expected to bid on the contract.
"We're modernizing things that make sense, and we're also doing collocation and
consolidation efforts," de Kanter said.
Many of the Pentagon's duplicative facilities will be consolidated: multiple network
management and message centers will merge into a single network and systems management
center and consolidated message support center; seven technical control facilities will
merge; two cable television broadcast systems will merge; and two radio rooms will merge.
"In terms of our ADP centers, on the command and control side we're doing
collocation, and on the business side we're doing consolidation," de Kanter said.
The building's 11 business and three command and control ADP centers will become two
The Pentagon's 15 telephone switches will be consolidated into eight switches to
support the more than 200,000 daily telephone calls through phone lines connected by
100,000 miles of cable.
A structured wiring system with configuration management control will replace the
current unstructured, undocumented distribution system of fiber, copper and coaxial