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Cloud Computing Confusion: Inconsistent Terminology is Muddying the Water

The federal cloud computing market is nothing if not confusing. Despite the best efforts of technical personnel at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to define what cloud is, the cloud market has come to encompass goods and services well beyond the narrow definitions of Infrastructure, Platform, and Software-as-a-Service. Understanding this is important for industry, because the complexity of the cloud market means finding business opportunities is that much harder.

Take for example the booming business of migrating agency datasets to big hosting companies like Amazon Web Services. AWS provides the cloud (the IaaS), but another vendor does the migration work. In this context, what part of the work should be considered cloud computing? The hosting services provided by AWS are clearly cloud, as defined by the NIST, but without the data migration work done by the industry partner, AWS provides nothing. The industry partner is a critical piece of the cloud puzzle, so should the migration work not also be considered part of the cloud market?

At Deltek, we call these types of services “cloud enabling” and we consider them to be part of the cloud computing paradigm. Therefore, we include spending on those services in our analysis of the federal cloud market. So, if cloud enabling services fit into a broader definition of the market, is your business development team searching for opportunities to do this kind of work?

Services like data migration are one shade of gray among many. An even more challenging trend that has emerged within the last couple of years is the use of the term “cloud” to describe a network of communications hardware and switches. This term first came to my attention in the early stages of the Defense Department’s implementation of multi-protocol label switching routers for the Joint Information Environment. Referred to as an MPLS cloud, the “cloudiness” of the MPLS gear appears to refer to the scalability of the hardware, but does the MPLS cloud really fit the definitions of cloud provided by NIST? The DoD is now taking the cloud analogy one step further, referring to sensor arrays as clouds. Are sensor arrays cloud computing? Their description as cloud confuses the issue quite a bit.

So What?

Seeking clarity in the terminology is not simply the complaint of a picky analyst. Consider the following. Using cloud terms for things that are not cloud has a serious impact on our understanding of the market and the size of the business opportunity related to cloud. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration has requested $24.3 million in FY 2016 for its Terminal Voice Switch Replacement program. The TVSR “replaces aging and obsolete voice switches” related to air traffic control. These switches are basically boxes of hardware that enable the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

In its FY 2016 IT budget request, the Department of Transportation requested $71.5 million for cloud computing. The question must be asked, however, if a collection of FAA switching hardware constitutes a cloud. If so, then cloud service providers may consider the size of the DOT cloud business opportunity to be $71.5 million. If not, the FY 2016 cloud opportunity at DOT is $47.2 million.

Company leadership uses these figures to set expectations for the business opportunity available to their sales teams. Let’s say your company’s team is expected to capture 5% of the total cloud spend at the DOT and compensation levels are set accordingly. Does that total equal $3.5 million (5% of $71.5 million) or $2.35 million (5% of $47.2 million)? The distinction matters if your company doesn’t happen to sell the switching equipment that the DOT calls cloud.

The correct use of terminology is important because the definition of cloud computing informs business decisions. If the definition is flawed, the resulting decision is as well. If that matters to your sales team and bottom line, you can see why the terminology matters and why clearing up the confusion is relevant.

 

Big Data Investments are Accelerating across the DoD

In a recent blog posting that received wide industry attention, I detailed how the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investing big money in research and development efforts related to big data.  An observation discussed in that post concerned the fact that advanced analytics and technologies like distributed computing are becoming entwined with modern, networked weapons systems. The incorporation of big data is a function not only of the growing complexity of weapons, but also of the command and control capabilities that today’s U.S. military is employing.  Facing a falling number of military personnel, all branches of the Defense establishment are turning to networked and unmanned weapons commanded and controlled from a distance to offset the strain on American fighting power.

In this context, DARPA’s R&D efforts are the “tip of the spear” when it comes to figuring out how big data technology can enhance combat capabilities.  DARPA is not the only Defense organization, however, that is dedicating R&D dollars in this area. The military services are also investing and in general the funding flowing into those research efforts is growing annually.

 

As the numbers in the chart above demonstrate, all of the military services are funding R&D efforts related to big data.  The data in the table above reflects projects in the FY 2016 Defense Research, Development, Test, and Enhancement (RDT&E) budget request that are dedicated primarily to some type of big data R&D.  Put otherwise, developing a big data-related capability is the primary objective of the effort. In addition to these primary efforts, there is a plethora of other research programs that include big data technologies as part of the effort.  The FY 2016 requested funding numbers for those programs with a related big data component are shown below.


What to make of these figures?

First, when the primary objective of a project (Table 1) is developing a big data solution, the Navy is leading the way among the military services.  A big reason for this is the Navy’s push to employ unmanned systems – aerial, surface, and undersea – on a much greater scale than at present.  The development of these systems requires an incredible amount of money, with work focused on enhanced C2 capabilities, cyber security, and analytics for parsing intel data gathered by these systems.  This trend is in evidence in the Air Force and Army as well, just not to the extent it is in the Navy, so if your company works in this area, it is a green field.

Second, from FY 2015 to FY 2016, the Army intends to nearly double its investment in primary big data related R&D (Table 1), reflecting a focus on parsing intel data and on utilizing big data for cyber security operations, especially automated network monitoring and defensive response.

Third, the Air Force is the only service that will see investment in primary big data R&D fall in FY 2016. This is due to some slight cuts in multi-source fusion technologies research and in the evaluation of advanced countermeasure concepts.  When it comes to big data R&D related to other efforts (Table 2), the total planned investment grows significantly, with a special focus on the automation of complex networks, analysis and use of sensor fusion technology, and exploitation of intel data.

In conclusion, looking at this one piece of the DoD big data market we can see that the military services intend to spend at least $159 million in FY 2016 on R&D related primarily to a big data objective.  At most, they intend to spend almost $725 million, if we count programs with a related big data component.  Keep in mind that these numbers do not include present investments in operations and maintenance and procurement programs. Big data R&D is thus a growing area of Defense IT spending in an otherwise flat market.

 

April Line-Up: What's New This Month - Deltek's Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015

While there were no solicitations released from Deltek's list of annual top federal opportunities for FY 2015 this month, there were two opportunities that had significant announcements published:

· The contracting office for the State Department's WPS-2 issued a pre-solicitation notice on April 17; the pre-solicitation conference is scheduled for May 22.

· The Army announced in the Tactical Network Industry Forum Slides that the CHS-5 draft RFP is expected to be released in December 2015.

Also worth noting is that solicitation release dates were delayed for four opportunities. Details are provided below, with each opportunity's original rank in the Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015 report and a link to additional details available in GovWin IQ.

Solicitations Released to Date: Nine

#12 GNS: RFP released on April 1, proposals due June 1, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 118117

#2 RS3: The solicitation for the $37.4B procurement was released on March 25, with proposals due May 6. Up to 50 awards are expected in July. –GovWin IQ# 54023

#9 ESPC: The solicitation was released on March 23, with proposals due May 13, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 109872

#20 ICP Core: The solicitation was released March 13; proposals are due May 12, 2015. The government anticipates an award in October 2015. –GovWin IQ# 44732

#16 M&O of the National Security Campus Formerly Known as the Kansas City Plant: Solicitation released December 12; proposals due February 10, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 45419

#7 CFT: Solicitation released on December 2; proposals due February 3, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 66838

#3 T4NG: Solicitation released on November 19; proposals due December 19, 2014. – GovWin IQ# 104683

#11 KC10 CLS Engine Support: Solicitation released on November 7; proposals due January 28, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 88677

#19 KC10 CLS Airframe Support: Solicitation released on November 7; proposals due January 28, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 65969

Solicitations Pushed to Later Date:

#10 HCaTS: On May 4, the contracting office stated that the final solicitations are now anticipated to be released by the end of June 2015. Previously, the solicitations had been anticipated to be released on May 19. Deltek has updated the opportunity report milestones accordingly. For more information on the HCaTS unrestricted vehicle, please refer to Opportunity Report ID: 121350. For more information on the HCaTS SB vehicle, please refer to Opportunity Report ID: 121353. –GovWin IQ# 113795

#17 ProTech: The contracting office stated that the draft RFP is slated to be issued in Summer 2015 with the final RFP being released in late 2015. As a result, Deltek changed its anticipated solicitation release date from May 2015 to November 2015. –GovWin IQ# 78803

#18 IRES: The contracting office announced new dates for the IRES acquisition. A draft RFP is anticipated to be issued in August 2015. Industry Day #2, the Site Visit, and one-on-one meetings are anticipated to be held in August. The pre-proposal conference is scheduled to be held and the final RFP is anticipated to be released in January 2016. Deltek has updated the opportunity report milestones accordingly.–GovWin IQ# 42435

#14 ESD II: According to information provided by the CMS OSDBU, a draft RFP may be posted in early May 2015 for industry review and feedback. An Industry Day may take place in early June 2015 and the final RFP may be released in mid June 2015. All of these dates are subject to change. Deltek is confirming the dates with the contracting office and has changed the estimated solicitation date from May 2015 to June 2015. –GovWin IQ# 118153

Updated Quick View of Deltek's Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015 *Government Estimate

RANK

AGENCY

PROGRAM NAME

DELTEK EST. RFP DATE

DELTEK EST. AWD DATE

DELTEK EST. VALUE

GovWin IQ ID

1

GSA

ALLIANT II UNRESTRICTED

Nov-15

Jul-17

$50 Billion

106639

2

Army

RESPONSIVE STRATEGIC SOURCING FOR SERVICES (RS3)

Mar 25, 2015 Released

Jul-15*

$37 Billion

54023

3

VA

TRANSFORMATION TWENTY ONE TOTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM NEXT GENERATION (T4NG)

Nov 19, 2014 Released

Dec-15*

$22.3 Billion*

104683

4

DOD

DEFENSE HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES GENERATION I IDIQ (DHITS GEN I)

Oct-15

Jun-16

$10 Billion*

53177

5

Army

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS 3 SERVICES (ITES-3S CHESS)

Sep-15

Dec-16

$12 Billion*

64990

6

DOD

ENCORE III

Sep-15

May-16

$12.2 Billion

110485

7

USAF

CONTRACT FIELD TEAM MAINTENANCE (CFT)

Dec 2, 2014 Released

Jan-16*

$11.4 Billion*

66838

8

State

WORLDWIDE PERSONAL PROTECTION SERVICES 2 (WPS2)

May-15

Sep-15

$10 Billion

93195

9

DOE

ENERGY SAVINGS PERFORMANCE CONTRACT (ESPC)

Mar 23, 2015 Released

Dec-15

$1.0 Billion

109872

10

GSA

HUMAN CAPITAL AND TRAINING SOLUTIONS (HCaTS)

June-15*

Dec-15*

$5 Billion

113795

11

USAF

KC10A CONTRACTOR LOGISTICS SUPPORT ENGINE SUPPORT CONTRACT

Nov 7, 2014 Released

Apr-16

$4.4 Billion*

88677

12

DOD

GLOBAL NETWORK SERVICES (GNS)

April 1, 2015 Released

Dec-15

$4.0 Billion*

118117

13

GSA

NORTHEAST INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTIONS (NIS)(NS2020)

Jul-15

Mar-16

$4.0 Billion*

105781

14

HHS

ENTERPRISE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT UMBRELLA (ESD-II)

Jun-15

Sep-15

$4.0 Billion

118153

15

Army

COMMON HARDWARE SYSTEMS 5 (CHS-5)

Feb-16

Aug-16

$2.5 Billion

96504

16

DOE

MANAGEMENT AND OPERATION OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY CAMPUS FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE KANSAS CITY PLANT

Dec 12, 2014 Released

Jun-16

$9.0 Billion

45419

17

Commerce

PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT SERVICES CONTRACT VEHICLE (PRO-TECH)

Nov-15

Apr-16

$3.0 Billion*

78803

18

DOD

INTEGRATED RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT FOR ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS (IRES)

Jan-16*

Aug-16*

$5.8 Billion*

42435

19

USAF

KC10A CONTRACTOR LOGISTICS SUPPORT DEPOT MAINTENANCE AIRFRAME CONTRACT

Nov 7, 2014 Released

Apr-16

$2.3 Billion*

65969

20

DOE

AEC IDAHO CLEAN CONTRACT CORE PROJECT (ICP CORE)

Mar 13, 2015 Released

Jan-16

$1.58 Billion*

44732

Senior Army Officials Outline Modernization Priorities in Senate Testimony

In testimony that flew under the radar a few weeks back, four senior Army commanders gave statements before the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Air-Land concerning the Fiscal Year 2016 budget request and the U.S. Army’s Strategy, Readiness, and Equipment Modernization. In that testimony, the Army’s officials made clear the detrimental impact that sequestration and the declining Army budget is having on the force’s readiness. They also outlined how the Army is shifting funding to priorities that will enable it to maximize the use of the budget dollars it receives.

The priorities outlined during the testimony were as follows:

First, the Army will fully fund its Combat Training Centers (CTC). Specifically, more money will be dedicated to refresh technology at the National Training Center, Joint Readiness Training Center, and the Joint Multi-National Readiness Center. A particular area of investment will be new Instrumentation and Training Aids, Devices, Simulators, and Simulations (ITADSS) used to train Brigade Combat Teams. This priority fits well with previous statements by Army officials specifying that spending on virtual training tools and systems will be a focus in the coming years. This spending should benefit vendors providing cloud-based training capabilities as well, as the Army seeks to make use of the latest technology.

The Maneuver CTCs will also refresh obsolete instrumentation data and Observer/Controller Communications System network infrastructure that supports Forward Operating Base operations and Mission Rehearsal Exercises. The current system has experienced network outages that inhibit efficient training operations. Enhancing network security capabilities – wired and wireless – will be a priority here.

Second, the Army will protect its investments in Science and Technology (S&T) to enable the use of next generation capabilities like combat vehicle technology, lethality technologies, rotary aviation, watercraft, and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance assets. For information technology vendors this means a focus on mobility and on good and services essential to mission command, such as “software applications for the Common Operating Environment, operations/intelligence network convergence efforts, and platform integration of network components in support of Operational Capability Sets in expeditionary tactical command posts.”

Third, the Army will retain a particular focus on ISR assets like unmanned systems.  This priority is reflected in the FY 2016 Army budget request for Research and Development. For R&D programs directly related to unmanned systems, the Army is requesting $218 million in FY 2016. Taking into account those programs which have a related unmanned system component, the requested budget climbs to just over $285 million. These totals are down from the more than $300 million the Army spent annually on unmanned systems in FY 2014 and 2015. Nevertheless, the requested amount indicates continued strong interest as the Army seeks ways to use technology to make up for the declining number of troops in the ranks.

Summing up, Army officials stressed that they will protect investments in technologies, particularly commercial-off-the-shelf technologies, that will help U.S. soldiers maintain overmatch capabilities against adversaries. The technologies mentioned during the testimony did not include cloud computing or big data analytics, but industry may rest assured that the Army is very interested in both of these things, especially for the collection and analysis of intelligence data that boosts the combat efficiency and lethality of U.S. forces. 

 

Army Investment in Unmanned Systems Benefits IT Vendors

The U.S. Army today faces significant budgetary and technological challenges. The fiscal limitations alone cannot be underestimated. With the Army’s annual budget falling the last several years, military leaders have been forced to cut both programs and personnel. Current projections show that by FY 2019 the number of active Army personnel will slide to 420,000 troops, down 14.3% from the current level of 490,000. Rapid technological change is also altering the circumstances under which Army personnel operate, as potential adversaries with advanced technical capabilities, particularly in the area of electronic warfare, challenge U.S. military supremacy.

In response to these challenges, the Army is turning to ever more advanced platforms for intelligence gathering and electronic warfare, particularly platforms that are unmanned and/or robotic. These platforms are unlike previous generations of technology in that they continuously generate vast amounts of data. This data requires analysis, which is a potential boon to vendors that offer advanced analytic capabilities. There are, however, other areas related to unmanned systems where information technology vendors can find business opportunity. These include modeling and simulation, algorithm design, software development, autonomy/artificial intelligence, testing, machine learning, cyber security, and electronic warfare-cyber convergence.

The Army’s investment in unmanned systems is symptomatic of the fundamental transformation of modern warfare into a seamlessly intertwined network of weapons systems, surveillance platforms, and IT capabilities. It therefore behooves those of us tracking federal IT to keep an eye on unmanned systems spending for the business opportunities it presents.

The table below shows programs directly related to the development and fielding of unmanned systems, as listed in the Army’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation budget request for FY 2016.


Generally speaking, this part of the Army’s budget request includes dollars that will be spent on research and development efforts. It is often considered to be “new” money the Army is asking for, unlike the funding it requests for Operations and Maintenance, Military Construction, etc. As we can see, the Army invests a lot on unmanned systems. This RDT&E spending amounted to nearly $263 million in FY 2014 alone. In FY 2015, the Army anticipates spending almost $289 million. In FY 2016, however, investment drops-off to roughly $218 million. There is no data to explain this decline, but my assumption is that planners have factored in the threat of sequestration.

It is worth noting that the development effort surrounding every one of these systems has one or more IT components related to it. These components include systems design, software engineering, and testing, among a myriad of other activities. The work is generally centered at the Army Research Laboratory, although considerable effort also takes place at the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). Finally, the programs listed above are those which deal directly with unmanned systems. There is also work related to unmanned systems in programs where unmanned systems are but one part of a larger effort. For these programs, the Army has requested $285 million in FY 2016, making the pot that much sweeter in the coming fiscal year.

 

CIOs Claim IT Reporting to OMB is Not Useful for Their Own IT Management

In a recent GAO study, CIOs claimed that required IT reporting to OMB was not useful to their own IT management.  OMB uses the information reported by CIOs with the goal of improving the management, oversight, and transparency of the federal government’s IT as a whole. But according to CIOs, reporting efforts on their part are burdensome and not helpful in improving IT management.  

OMB requires agencies to routinely report on IT management in five areas:  

  • IT strategic planning  
  • Capital planning and investment management 
  • IT security 
  • Systems acquisitions, development, and integration  
  • E-government initiatives

OMB directs agency CIOs to respond to 36 IT management reporting requirements within the five IT management areas.  Reporting frequency varies from monthly, quarterly, annually and “as needed” depending on the requirement, with most requiring quarterly or annual reporting.  

Agencies report and transmit the information regarding their IT initiatives via the following methods/systems:  

  • CyberScope – for 5 requirements  
  • Integrated Data Collection – for 7 requirements  
  • MAX Portal – for 3 requirements  
  • Federal IT Dashboard  - for 6 requirements  
  • Agency Websites – for 9 requirements  
  • Data Point – for 1 requirement  
  • DHS Continuous Monitoring Dashboard – for 1 requirement   
  • Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative Program Management Portal – for 1 requirement       
  • Meetings with OMB Officials – for 2 requirements  
  • E-mail to OMB – for additional requirements as needed

CIOs reported that addressing the reporting requirements did not always clearly support departmental priorities and took a significant level of effort to implement.  Agencies reported spending approximately $150M to $308M annually to report to OMB, in part due to the frequency, formatting, duplicative elements and differing data collection systems in use. 

CIOs identified the following reporting as most useful in managing IT:  

  • Information Resources Management strategic plan  
  • Enterprise roadmap  
  • Exhibit 53  
  • IT investment performance updates

Although OMB has taken steps to streamline some IT reporting requirements, the efforts do not address additional challenges, such as the use of multiple online tools to report information. If OMB addressed the IT reporting issues identified by CIOs they could make the reporting effort and information gained a more useful tool for IT management at the agency level.  GAO recommends that OMB collaborate with CIOs to address proposed reporting improvements and challenges and ensure a common understanding of priority IT reforms.  

 

Big Data Programs at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The Department of Defense is investing big in goods and services related to big data. This investment, however, is not spread evenly across the department. It exists instead in certain agencies where the spending is deep and related to a variety of other programs. One of these agencies is Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, as it is commonly known. DARPA does research and assessments related to the applicability of cutting edge technologies to U.S. national security, including unmanned systems, robotics, cyber security, mobility, networking and computing technologies, and others.

Underlying the research and development work at DARPA are significant investments in advanced algorithms, analytics, and data fusion that illustrate the importance of “big data” to the efficient use of next generation systems and weapons platforms. Put differently, more and more of DoD’s weapons and communications systems, as well as the platforms that carry them, are becoming extremely complex. They are now so complex, in fact, that big data analytics and algorithms are necessary for them to function properly. Big data analytics and algorithms are thus a foundational technology without which an increasing number of advanced DoD weapons systems and platforms would not function.

Knowing this makes a big difference when it comes to understanding where business opportunity can be found at the DoD. Big data is such a complex subject, and its uses are so varied, that it is rare if an acquisition calls explicitly for a specific solution by name or the term “big data.” This makes selling big data solutions and services to defense customers tricky.

Getting back to DARPA, the fact is that big data is in use across the agency. It appears primarily in R&D work related to software development, algorithm design, and data fusion efforts. The two tables below identify programs that have big data requirements related to them. Table 1 lists DARPA programs in which big data goods or services are the primary requirement. Table 2 shows DARPA programs in which big data requirements are but one of many different pieces of work. These programs have been drawn from the DARPA Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation Budget Request for FY 2016.


As we can see in Table 1, spending rises from approximately $97 million in FY 2014, to the $164 million that DARPA forecasts in FY 2016. This represents a projected 69% increase over the course of three fiscal years.

Turning to the list of programs that includes both big data specific projects and those with a big data component (the gold lines in Table 2 below), we can see that the trend is the same – spending at DARPA on big data related R&D is on the rise. The increase is a more modest 21% from FY 2014 to FY 2016, but this is still a positive return in an overall declining DoD technology market.


Summing up, the DoD’s spending on big data, particularly on R&D, is rising. Because money is flowing to R&D efforts, the fact that the work is related to big data may be hidden in general project descriptions. The best thing to do when searching for big data related work is to seek out complexity. Where agencies like DARPA are conducting R&D work on complex systems, the integration of massive volumes of sensor data, the development of advanced algorithms for controlling unmanned systems, and/or fusing large data sets into common pictures, that is where you’ll find big data related spending.

 

Takeaways from the New Army Cloud Computing Strategy

The Army Office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6 recently released its enterprise cloud computing strategy outlining the service’s concept for using cloud computing in the years ahead. The Army Cloud Computing Strategy (ACCS) reveals that the service remains committed to several basic steps that will enable it to deliver cloud-based capabilities across the enterprise.  These steps include:

  • Continuing to enhance the throughput capacity of its networks by implementing multi-protocol label switching routers.
  • Selecting applications that will either be killed or selected for migration to a cloud-based environment.
  • Utilizing data center services provided by the Defense Information Systems Agency to the furthest extent possible.
  • Expanding the development and deployment of cloud-based technologies for disconnected and tactical environments.
  • Ruthlessly standardizing IT hardware on common standards that comply with the Army’s various Common Operating Environments.
  • Implementing the governance processes and procedures necessary for selecting cloud services appropriate to the mission requirement being fulfilled.

In addition to formalizing the foundational aspects for Army’s adoption of cloud, the ACCS makes several things clear about the Army’s intended use of cloud that have implications for the acquisition of those services in the future.

First, cloud computing adoption in the Army will be overseen by the Army Application Migration Business Office – Product Director Enterprise Computing at the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems. PD EC has been authorized to assist commands with the system and procurement planning necessary for moving applications to the cloud, meaning that vendors should keep close tabs on what’s happening there. It is worth thinking about how Army customers will acquire cloud services with PD EC designated as the coordinating organization. The acquisition of enterprise technology services is PEO EIS’ primary function, strongly suggesting that PD EC will either put a multiple award contract in place to provide vendor migration and other cloud services, or it will use vehicles that are pending and/or are already in place across government.

In this context the follow-on to IT Enterprise Solutions – 2 Services looms large. Not only are PEO EIS vehicles mandated for Army customers, the PEO is also looking for ways to streamline its contract operations. Adding cloud to the services provided by ITES vendors would effectively kill two birds with one stone by using a vehicle already in the process of being competed for the work. This said, the award of ITES-3S is a long way off and protests are guaranteed to hold it up even longer. PD EC is therefore likely to use other procurement tools, like GSA’s IT 70, the Alliant contracts, and/or a blanket purchase agreement to fulfill cloud requirements.

The second revelation from the ACCS is the first detailed listing I’ve seen of the types of systems that the DoD classifies as having a “low” data impact level. These systems, including testing and development efforts, library systems, and public websites are classified at data impact level 2 and are the most likely to be moved to the cloud first. After these systems, the bar rises fairly quickly to data impact level 4 for many training systems, morale systems, and lodging systems.

In short, being certified at the data impact “low” level isn’t likely to generate vendors much cloud business at the DoD. It is much more preferable to be certified at the moderate and high levels of 4 and above.  That is where the real money will be.

 

March Line-Up: What Happened This Month - Deltek's Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015

A monthly rundown of activity for Deltek's Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015

Talk about March Madness! Three major solicitations were released in March and one was released on April 1, resulting in a total of nine solicitations featured in Deltek's annual top federal opportunities for FY 2015 being released so far this fiscal year.

Five solicitation released dates were pushed, two of which have reduced ceiling values.

Details of the month's updates to the Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015 follow, but here's the scorecard for March (as of April 1, 2015):

· Four solicitations released, with a combined ceiling value of $44B

· Solicitation release dates delayed for five opportunities

· Two opportunities' ceiling value reduced

Details are provided below, with each opportunity's original rank in the Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015 report and a link to additional details provided by GovWin IQ.

Solicitations Released to Date: Nine

#12 GNS: RFP released on April 1, proposals due May 18, 2015. Deltek estimates awards to be made in December 2015. –GovWin IQ# 118117

#2 RS3: The solicitation for the $37.4B procurement was released on March 25, with proposals due April 24. Up to 50 awards are expected in July. –GovWin IQ# 54023

#9 ESPC: The solicitation was released on March 23, with proposals due April 29, 2015. Deltek estimates awards to be made in January 2016. –GovWin IQ# 109872

#20 ICP Core: The solicitation was released March 13; proposals are due May 12, 2015. The government anticipates an award in October 2015. –GovWin IQ# 44732

#16 M&O of the National Security Campus Formerly Known as the Kansas City Plant: Solicitation released December 12; proposals due February 10, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 45419

#7 CFT: Solicitation released on December 2; proposals due February 3, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 66838

#3 T4NG: Solicitation released on November 19; proposals due December 19, 2014. – GovWin IQ# 104683

#11 KC10 CLS Engine Support: Solicitation released on November 7; proposals due January 28, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 88677

#19 KC10 CLS Airframe Support: Solicitation released on November 7; proposals due January 28, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 65969

Solicitation Dates Pushed to Later Date:

#10 HCaTS: The Draft RFPs were released for HCATS and HCATS SB on March 18, 2015. A Presolicitation Conference is planned for May 14, in Washington D.C. The final solicitations are expected on May 19, 2015. As a result, Deltek dates have been updated accordingly. For more information on the HCaTS unrestricted vehicle, please refer to Opportunity Report ID: 121350. For more information on the HCaTS SB vehicle, please refer to Opportunity Report ID: 121353. –GovWin IQ# 113795

#13 NIS/NS2020: On March 12, the government issued a special notice indicating that the contracting office is currently focusing on the$50B GSA Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) acquisition (GovWin IQ # 115836). Currently, no additional information is available regarding the NIS. As a result, Deltek has changed the solicitation date to July 2015. –GovWin IQ# 105781

#14 ESD II: Deltek analysts confirmed that no recent activity has taken place. Because the CO was unable to provide a solicitation timeframe; as such, Deltek changed the estimated solicitation date from April 2015 to May 2015. –GovWin IQ# 118153

Solicitation Dates Pushed to Later Date and Ceiling Values Reduced:

#4 DHITS: Per the industry day slides published in February, the draft RFP is anticipated to be released on or about September 15, 2015. The RFP is anticipated to be released on or about October 14, 2015. Awards are anticipated to be made on or about June 23, 2016. In the industry day slides, the ceiling value was published as $10B, which is a reduction from original estimated value of $20B. Deltek has updated the dates and values accordingly.–GovWin IQ# 53177

#5 ITES-3S: The ceiling value was reduced from $20 billion to $12 billion, per information provided at the AFCEA NOVA Army IT Day held on February 4, 2015. The Draft RFP is currently projected to be issued in Q3FY15. As a result, Deltek changed the estimated RFP release date to September 2015. Additionally, the Government has requested a 36 month extension on the ordering period for ITES-2S. –GovWin IQ# 64990

Updated Quick View of Deltek's Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015 *Government Estimate

RANK

AGENCY

PROGRAM NAME

DELTEK EST. RFP DATE

DELTEK EST. AWD DATE

DELTEK EST. VALUE

GovWin IQ ID

1

GSA

ALLIANT II UNRESTRICTED

Nov-15

Jul-17

$50 Billion

106639

2

Army

RESPONSIVE STRATEGIC SOURCING FOR SERVICES (RS3)

Mar 25, 2015 Released

Jul-15*

$37 Billion

54023

3

VA

TRANSFORMATION TWENTY ONE TOTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM NEXT GENERATION (T4NG)

Nov 19, 2014 Released

Dec-15*

$22.3 Billion*

104683

4

DOD

DEFENSE HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES GENERATION I IDIQ (DHITS GEN I)

Oct-15

Jun-16

$10 Billion*

53177

5

Army

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS 3 SERVICES (ITES-3S CHESS)

Sep-15

Dec-16

$12 Billion*

64990

6

DOD

ENCORE III

Sep-15

May-16

$12.2 Billion

110485

7

USAF

CONTRACT FIELD TEAM MAINTENANCE (CFT)

Dec 2, 2014 Released

Jan-16*

$11.4 Billion*

66838

8

State

WORLDWIDE PERSONAL PROTECTION SERVICES 2 (WPS2)

May-15

Sep-15

$10 Billion

93195

9

DOE

ENERGY SAVINGS PERFORMANCE CONTRACT (ESPC)

Mar 23, 2015 Released

Dec-15

$1.0 Billion

109872

10

GSA

HUMAN CAPITAL AND TRAINING SOLUTIONS (HCaTS)

May-15*

Aug-15*

$5 Billion

113795

11

USAF

KC10A CONTRACTOR LOGISTICS SUPPORT ENGINE SUPPORT CONTRACT

Nov 7, 2014 Released

Apr-16

$4.4 Billion*

88677

12

DOD

GLOBAL NETWORK SERVICES (GNS)

April 1, 2015 Released

Dec-15

$4.0 Billion*

118117

13

GSA

NORTHEAST INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTIONS (NIS)(NS2020)

Jul-15

Mar-16

$4.0 Billion*

105781

14

HHS

ENTERPRISE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT UMBRELLA (ESD-II)

May-15

Sep-15

$4.0 Billion

118153

15

Army

COMMON HARDWARE SYSTEMS 5 (CHS-5)

Feb-15

Jul-16

$2.5 Billion

96504

16

DOE

MANAGEMENT AND OPERATION OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY CAMPUS FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE KANSAS CITY PLANT

Dec 12, 2014 Released

Jun-16

$9.0 Billion

45419

17

Commerce

PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT SERVICES CONTRACT VEHICLE (PRO-TECH)

Aug-15

Apr-16

$3.0 Billion*

78803

18

DOD

INTEGRATED RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT FOR ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS (IRES)

Oct-15*

Aug-16*

$5.8 Billion*

42435

19

USAF

KC10A CONTRACTOR LOGISTICS SUPPORT DEPOT MAINTENANCE AIRFRAME CONTRACT

Nov 7, 2014 Released

Apr-16

$2.3 Billion*

65969

20

DOE

AEC IDAHO CLEAN CONTRACT CORE PROJECT (ICP CORE)

Mar 13, 2015 Released

Oct-15*

$1.58 Billion*

44732

The Other JIE: Engineering the Mission Partner Environment

All eyes are currently focused on the Department of Defense’s efforts to engineer a Joint Information Environment that will enable the secure sharing of information across the DoD enterprise, as well as the delivery of enterprise services by both the Defense Information Systems Agency and, eventually, commercial cloud partners.  There is another network integration effort going at DISA, however, which receives significantly less attention, yet its importance to the future of U.S. national security is every bit as critical.  That effort is the transformation of the Multinational Information Sharing portfolio of programs into a new Mission Partner Environment.

The current MNIS portfolio consists of four capabilities:

  • The Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS), which includes the Common Mission Network Transport (CMNT) backbone that enables the management of federated networks and provides common transport for encrypted traffic between mission partners.
  • The Pegasus System, which interconnects the National Command and Control systems of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States using cross domain solutions.
  • The Combined Federated Battle Laboratory Network (CFBLNet), which provides a controlled Research, Development, Trials, and Assessment coalition information sharing sandbox for evaluating new technologies and developing new tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).
  • The Unclassified Information Sharing Service (UISS) All Partners Access (APAN) Network, which provides information sharing capabilities to mission partners, U.S. Combatant Commands, U.S. Government agencies, host nations, inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and coalition partners.

Support services for these pieces of the MNIS are currently provided under a variety of contracts held by Harris (Cross Domain Solutions), CACI (Cross Domain Solutions), Raytheon (Engineering Support), Ingenium (Program Support), SAIC (Program Support), ViaSat (Cryptographic HW), Information Analysis (Connection Approval Process), and MCP Computer Products (DNS Management).

When engineering work is complete, the component parts of the MNIS will be merged into a single Mission Partner Environment that provides interoperable email, chat, video conferencing, VoIP, and other collaboration capabilities.  The MPE will also connect to the Joint Information Environment, providing access to data located throughout the Defense enterprise.


The projected Research, Development, Testing, and Enhancement (RDT&E) budget for work related to the MNIS totals $31.1 million over five years (FY 2015-2020), averaging approximately $6.2 million per year.

One piece of the puzzle not mentioned so far is the U.S. Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation System – Extended (US BICES-X), which will also be part of the new MPE.  Budget data for US BICES-X was classified for FY 2015, so no numbers can be provided for it here.  Investigating BICES-X for potential future business opportunity should be on industry’s radar, however, as there may be requirements at Hill Air Force Base for cryptographic HW, engineering a VTC network, and integrating Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance components from the Distributed Common Ground System and Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise.  Requirements for program office support and technical integration support may also be available, if these haven’t been awarded already.

Lastly, commercial cloud providers take note.  DISA intends to host the UISS-APAN system in a commercial cloud environment in FY 2016.  UISS-APAN is currently hosted in DISA’s Enterprise Service Center, part of its Defense Enterprise Computing Center, in Montgomery, Alabama.  Supporting vendors include Carahsoft, Exalt Integrated Technologies, Alvarez & Associates, and DLT Solutions, which provide Software and Documentation Localization licenses, DocAve software, Google Maps, and Google Translation software and support, respectively.  DISA intends to migrate UISS-APAN to a vendor-hosted Infrastructure-as-a-Service environment, meaning that if the procurement appears soon, there are but a few competitors certified by the DoD to provide hosting services.

 

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