Net-enabled command program moving ahead

SALT LAKE CITY'The Defense Information Systems Agency is moving forward on a program to implement Net-enabled command capabilities (NECC), with a request for information due for release shortly.

The objective of NECC is to provide a comprehensive suite of information services that will enable warfighters to make better, faster and more coordinated decisions on the battlefield, said Maj. Susan Grosenheider, test and evaluation branch chief for the NECC Joint Program Management Office. Grosenheider spoke at the annual Joint Services Software and Systems Technology Conference. The program, formerly called the Joint Command and Control program, has been renamed.

'The goal is not to be net-centric; it is to impact the battle space,' Grosenheider said.

During technology development, DISA will be assessing the technologies that should be included in a full system. Once this phase is completed, in 18 to 24 months, the next milestone will be the systems design and development phase, she said.

There is a draft provisional technology transition architecture document available online,at the Defense online portal, which provides a definition of the NECC component layers and interfaces, and offers design guidance to prospective vendors.

DISA is working with all the military services to leverage existing technologies, Grosenheider said. Each service will be called upon to set up a joint program executive office to work with DISA and coordinate NECC services.

As technologies are evaluated for inclusion in NECC, one of the biggest challenges will be maintaining interoperability. Testing and evaluation increase in complexity for a system of systems, she said, and the next level'establishing interoperability with international partners'is even more complex.

'A dedicated, permanent, persistent test environment is there. We will not build a new [facility], but use' laboratories and bases already in place, Grosenheider added.

Once established, the federated development and certification environment (FDCE) will include three steps for companies to demonstrate the operational usefulness of their solutions.

'The entrance criteria [for the initial stage] are set as low as possible to encourage participation,' Grosenheider said. DISA will use automated testing to determine which technologies meet basic requirements and should move to the next level.

In developmental piloting, products will undergo network operations validation, including security and management, and a first-cut assessment of military usefulness. The final stage, operational piloting, will address scalability, among other factors, and beta sites will have the opportunity to put the technologies to real-world use.

The RFI, to be published in the FedBizOpps.gov in the next few weeks, will announce the opening of the FDCE for companies to submit their products, she said.

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