Worldwide network. The Defense Department next year will start integrating a common set of information services over a global information system with an enterprise architecture. The department's goal is to link military networks around the world to speed information to warfighters and decision-makers.

The Global Information Grid, scheduled for completion later this decade, will rely on an architecture called the Net-Centric Enterprise Service.

Science Applications International Corp. last month received a $50 million, five-year contract from the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan and develop the grid.

Some elements of the NCES architecture will be leased: communications, computing systems and services, software and security services, said Linda Kjonnerod, a program analyst for DOD technology. She said she expects work for the initiative to be done mostly by contractors, similar to the Navy's strategy in setting up the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet.

'This is the infrastructure that is needed for intranet-centric types of activities,' said Kjonnerod, who spoke recently about NCES during the Federal Outlook conference sponsored by Federal Sources Inc. of McLean, Va.

Kjonnerod said DOD is pushing for early approval from congressional leaders to begin work on the initiative later this year.

Defense CIO John Stenbit said NCES would offer a common set of information capabilities over the grid to access, collect, process, store, disseminate and manage information. Warfighters, policy-makers and support personnel will use it.

'Decision cycles will be shortened by providing near-real-time connectivity and computing power to get the right information, at the right time, in the right format to meet operational, tactical and mission support needs,' Stenbit said.

Fast track. Defense has hired a vendor to build a ruggedized portable system that warfighters would use to quickly extract data from enemy forces' captured computers.

Ideal Technology Corp. of Orlando, Fla., this month won a DOD Small Business Innovation Research Phase I contract. The first phase is worth $65,000 for six months of work. If DOD picks up the second phase, the contract could grow to $750,000, officials said.

The company will work with the Army's Communications'Electronics Command in Fort Monmouth, N.J., to develop the Forward Area Portable Forensics System, which will run the Linux operating system and other open-source software.

Defense wants a system that will let U.S. forces assess whether a captured computer contains information critical to battle operations. When warfighters seize an enemy computer now, they must send it to a remote forensics lab for data analysis. DOD officials said the data is often not useful for commanders on the battlefield because remote analysis can take days, even weeks.

With the planned system, users would search the data on the spot, Ideal officials said in a statement.

DOD's Small Business Innovation Research Program provides up to $850,000 each year in early-stage R&D funding directly to small technology companies or individual entrepreneurs.

Supercomputer deals. DOD has awarded eight task orders worth more than $100 million to three contractors to support the Defense High-Performance Computing Modernization Program.

Under the General Services Administration's Millennia Contract vehicle, Computer Sciences Corp. received four of the eight task orders to provide support and outreach services at the Army Corps of Engineers' Engineer R&D Center in Vicksburg, Miss., and Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center in Dayton, Ohio.

Raytheon Co. won two task orders at the Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen, Md., and Lockheed Martin Corp. won two task orders at the Naval Oceanographic Center in Stennis, Miss.
The services will range from systems administration and integration to help desk and scientific visualization support.

The official start date for all of the work is sometime this month, officials said.

DOD's high-performance computing centers provide supercomputing services to users in the department's science, technology, and test and evaluation organizations.


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