Planned FY 2018 Army Technology Investments - Part 4 Big Data
Published: August 16, 2017
Part four of a four part analysis of the Army’s planned FY 2018 investments in big data, cloud, and cyber security.
This week’s post provides part four in my running overview of the Procurement and Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) dollars that the U.S. Army intends to invest in various technology projects in fiscal Year 2018. This week’s post takes a look at projected spending on big data-related technology.
As a reminder, Deltek conducted this analysis of the Army’s FY 2018 Procurement and RDT&E budget documentation using keywords and terms related to big data, including analytics, modeling, machine learning, and high performance computing, among others. Limitations in the available data did not always allow Deltek to isolate big data programs, so the numbers here also reflect projected spending on programs that have big data elements as a significant part of a larger effort.
FY 2016-2018 Overview
Expanding on the data presented in part one of this blog series, the chart below provides an overview of the combined Procurement and RDT&E spending that the Army is requesting for programs with a big data-related requirement in FY 2018.
The Army expects its big data-related Procurement funding will decline modestly -7% from $126M in FY 2017 to $117M in FY 2018, while it’s big data-related RDT&E funding will grow +8.7% from $1.48B in FY 2017 to $1.6B in FY 2018. Procurement funding makes up 6.7% of the $1.73B that the Army projects it will spend on requirements with a big data-related element in FY 2018. The amount of money the Army intends to spend on programs with a big data component illustrates how ubiquitous the use of advanced analytics, high performance computing, and data modeling has become.
Moving to the program details, the table below lists all of the Army programs with a big data-related requirement identified by Deltek.
At $66.3M in projected FY 2018 Procurement funding, support for the High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) is the Army’s number one priority. This is followed by the Close Combat Tactical Trainer, to which the Army intends to direct $45.7M in Procurement dollars. Training simulation is a big area of focus for the Army as it seeks to use virtual environments as a way of improving soldier readiness while lowering overall costs. The emphasis on High Performance Computing also comes as no surprise given the importance the Department of Defense has assigned to HPC as a critical enabler for cybersecurity research in the wake of 2015’s National Strategic Computing Initiative.
Concerning RDT&E priorities, the Defense Research Sciences program will receive the highest funding of $263.6M in FY 2018, followed, once again, by the HPCMP. One element down the list in RDT&E, but which is of interest to a lot of industry is the dedication of $43M in funding to Defensive Cyber Tool Development. This amount represents a big jump in funding after the Army requested only $7M for it in FY 2017. Just below the DCT is a request of $34M for Cyberspace Operations Forces and Force Support. I covered this effort recently, explaining that the program is related to the Persistent Cyber Training Environment. Here again the Army is spending big dollars on advanced analytics and modeling technology to provide virtual training for cyber warriors.
Summing up, the Army is continuing to dedicate tremendous sums of money to programs with big data-related components. These components are often also directly linked to efforts at improving cybersecurity, illustrating the connection between these two technologies.