Enabling the JIE: A Look at the Mission Partner Environment

Published: June 18, 2014

DEFENSEDISAJoint Information Environment (JIE)

DISA recently announced an alteration of its implementation strategy for DoD’s Joint Information Environment that moves from an incremental to a regional approach. A part of this strategy is engineering the Multi-National Information Sharing Service, or MNIS, into the new JIE-compatible Mission Partner Environment (MPE). This post examines funding for the MPE effort requested for FY 2015 and takes a look at some of the vendors doing the work.

The last month and a half has seen the announcement of important changes to the Defense Information Systems Agency’s approach to rolling out the new Joint Information Environment.  Formerly an initiative divided into three increments, the JIE has been transformed into a global engineering effort divided into regions of work.  Like a runner gathering speed, DISA has found its footing and transferred incremental momentum in multiple efforts taking place simultaneously.  Speed is the name of the game here as DISA  moves toward its desired end-state for the JIE.

Within this context it’s practically impossible to keep track of what is happening where and when.  Adding to the confusion is the use of contracts for the work that are already in place.  Vendors already working at DISA are benefitting from their close proximity, while those seeking work with the agency are struggling to understand where competitive opportunities can be found.  Today’s post attempts to make sense of the new Mission Partner Environment, a part of what was formerly called “JIE Increment 2,” in an effort to clarify where funding is going and where opportunity related to it might be found.

What Is the Mission Partner Environment?

DISA defines the MPE as an “operating environment that leverages U.S. and mission partner information technology infrastructures with integrating capabilities to realize the DoD JIE framework.”  There are several pieces to this environment that are already in place and which are being engineered to enable the interoperability and security benefits of the JIE.  These pieces are:

  • The Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS)
  • The Combined Federated Battle Lab Network (CFBLNet)
  • Pegasus (formerly Griffin)
  • The Unclassified Information Sharing Service-All Partner Access Network (UISS-APAN)
  • The Common Mission Network Transport (CMNT)
  • The United States Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation Systems (US BICES) Program

Work related to every element listed above, except US BICES, falls under the overall rubric of the Multi-National Information Sharing (MNIS) Service. 

In FY 2015, DISA plans to reprioritize “MNIS investments to address PACOM near-term requirements for expanded Coalition connectivity in their AOR.”  As DISA notes in its Strategic Plan for FY 2014-2019, MNIS will provide the material solution required for the foundation of the MPE.  In short, additional resources will flow to MNIS to enable the JIE in the Pacific (i.e., what was once known as JIE Increment 2).

To put numbers around all of this, DISA has requested $53.5 million in FY 2015 for work related to MNIS.  This compares to $48.3 million in the FY 2014 budget, a rise of 11%.

Contractors Doing the Work

Multiple contractors have provided support for the MNIS Program over the years.  Table 1 below shows those that DISA lists as currently active.  This list should not be considered exhaustive.  However, it does provide insight into where the $53.5 million slated for MNIS in FY 2015 will be going.

Related Opportunities?

Turning to the possibility of new business developing from the effort to transform various MNIS Program elements into a unified Mission Partner Environment consistent with the JIE, the currently available opportunities are few and far between.

  • DISA recently released a solicitation for MNIS Service Strategy and Support to assist the MNIS PMO with planning and technical services.  The awarded contract will be a small business follow-on to an ENCORE II Task Order held by HP Enterprise Services.
  • IT Support Services for the US BICES Program offers considerably more promise for vendors who can compete in the Classified arena.  A draft RFP has been released for this effort, but one will need access to the ARC Procurement System to see it.
  • Lastly, there may be work related to the migration of the UISS-APAN capability to a cloud environment.  Whether this will be DISA’s milCloud or a commercial environment is known only to insiders.  My thought is that migration to a commercial host is a long-shot given the small number of Cloud Service Providers certified by DISA at current data impact levels 1-2.  This said, some DISA officials have speculated in the recent past that APAN is a viable candidate for hosting in a commercial setting, so there is a slight chance here.

In conclusion, welcome to the brave new world of the JIE, where the majority of the work goes to entrenched incumbents via obligations in the DoD’s Operations and Maintenance budget.  It is the use of this procurement/engineering strategy that has both accelerated the implementation of the JIE and obscured how it is being funded.