Army hits reset button on intelligence-sharing system
- By Sean Lyngaas
- Aug 14, 2014
WHAT: The Army issued a request for information on Aug. 13 for the next phase of its controversial intelligence-sharing network, the Distributed Common Ground System – Army. The service expects the project to be open to bidders in fiscal 2016.
WHY: The $5 billion network, which is meant to allow troops to access intelligence from multiple sources, has been plagued by server malfunctions and other practical issues since its development. In August 2012, about four months before DCGS-A was approved for full deployment, the Army Test and Evaluation Command deemed the system to be “effective with significant limitations, not suitable and not survivable.” The program’s struggles with cloud computing have drawn criticism from Capitol Hill.
The Army recently postponed a major testing exercise for DCGS-A because of software glitches, according to a July 15 memorandum reported by the Associated Press.
The Army hopes to turn the page on these IT defects by addressing “well-publicized soldier concerns regarding the existing DCGS-A system’s ‘ease of use’ in the field,” the service said in announcing the RFI. One way of doing that is to improve and replace the “software-based tools soldiers use to analyze and integrate data and visualize intelligence information,” the Army added.
The acquisition process for “DCGS-A Increment 2,” as the Army dubs the new version, could see the contractor, rather than the government, serve as integrator of DCGS-A network components. The new system will need to meet the intelligence community’s enterprise standards for interoperability.
This is the first of several RFIs the Army plans to issue for DCGS-A Increment 2. The service said it has set up a new “product management office” for handling bidding on the next version of DCGS-A, and that there will likely be a DCGS-A Increment 2 industry day in the second quarter of fiscal 2015.
Click here to read the RFI.
Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Follow him on Twitter: @snlyngaas