System deal. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command's Systems Center in Norfolk, Va., has awarded a $133 million contract to CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Va., to help design, develop and integrate the Naval Tactical Command Support System.

With the contract, which has one base year with four option years, SPAWAR's Systems Center combined two previous contracts for work on NTCSS.

The system will be used on all ships and submarines as well as by aviation squadrons and by top Navy maintenance organizations, according to a CACI release.

The system will automate functions ranging from supplies and maintenance to personnel administration, financial and medical records and travel orders.

Marine Corps woes. Although the Marine Corps deployed its most advanced systems in Iraq, there were still technical problems, deputy CIO Debra Filippi said recently.

The Corps had difficulty communicating on the move, identifying enemy and friendly units, and crossing the digital divide between operational and tactical forces, Filippi said at a luncheon held by the Northern Virginia chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

The Marine Corps Tactical Data Network extended 375 miles, and new command, control, communications and computer systems were successful, Filippi said.

Still, the Corps had difficulty integrating the many so-called Blue Force Tracking systems used throughout the battlefield into a single common operational picture of friendly and enemy forces, she said. Despite the use of updated troop-tracking software, each of the services saw only a partial picture of enemy and friendly forces.

Quicker weather data. The Air Force Combat Climatology Center in Asheville, N.C., is adopting 10-Gbps switching technology to speed up the movement of data on its new weather data network.

The AFCCC recently selected a switching system from Topspin Communications Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., to help the center reduce hardware costs and replace its existing server architecture with a cluster of commodity servers running the Red Hat Linux Advanced Workstation 2.1 operating system from Red Hat Inc. of Raleigh, N.C., according to agency officials.

'In our business of volume data and complex analysis, I/O rules,' said Keith Schoultz, technical systems lead for the AFCCC. 'Extremely fast I/O performance is critical to our operation. We have to move big chunks of data around all day.'

Topspin will provide the AFCCC with an InfiniBand interconnect that improves performance, Schoultz said. The virtual I/O capabilities of the server switch lets AFCCC scale its storage capabilities to meet increasing workload and storage requirements, he added.

The center collects and processes weather data worldwide, and stores it for an average of 30 years.

The server switch, which will be integrated by prime contractor Intelligent Decisions Inc. of Chantilly, Va., consists of a Topspin 360 Server Switch with Topspin Fibre Channel gateways, ProMicro servers with Topspin InfiniBand Host Channel Adapters, and Texas Memory Systems RamSan 220 solid-state storage, according to Topspin officials. It runs an Oracle9i real application clusters database.

Schoultz declined to discuss the contract amount.

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