DISA launches $4B 'hemispheric' telecom net buy

The Defense Information Systems Agency this month surprised potential bidders for a wideband telecommunications network that would span the Pacific, South America and the Caribbean when it doubled the estimated value of the network from $2 billion to $4 billion. In releasing the request for proposa

The Defense Information Systems Agency this month surprised potential bidders for a wideband telecommunications network that would span the Pacific, South America and the Caribbean when it doubled the estimated value of the network from $2 billion to $4 billion.

In releasing the request for proposals for the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) Transmission Services-Pacific (DTS-P), DISA said the increase represented the need to provide for "crises and contingency operations" over the 10-year life of the contract. DISA said it could allocate about $2 billion for those operations.

Army Col. Mike Harvey, commander of DISA-Pacific, said it was "essential to build in contingency capacity for rapid expansion of capability" during crises. "We can be much more responsive by having this [capacity] on call," he said. By incorporating surge capacity into DTS-P, "we can structure it so it's cheaper than [buying circuits] in the midst of a crisis.''

Industry sources and analysts called planning for contingency operations a prudent step because U.S. forces in the Pacific will need extra capacity to handle expanded humanitarian, peacekeeping and crisis-intervention missions. Warren Suss, a telecommunications analyst in Jenkintown, Pa., said the $2 billion for contingencies "makes sense [because] in the past users have complained about the costs for extra capacity for contingencies."

DTS-P will serve Defense Department and other federal users scattered across 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans and in South America and the Caribbean. DTS-P must dovetail with the planned worldwide DISN and provide state-of-the-art service. Bids for DTS-P are due Dec. 10, and DISA plans to award the contract in early 1999.

DTS-P dwarfs all but a few federal telecommunications procurements in scale and scope. "It wouldn't be the biggest, but it's probably in the top 5 percent," said Bob Woods, president and chief operating officer of Federal Sources Inc. "The biggest question with these things is whether they're empty buckets."

Greg Wilska, a market research analyst with Federal Sources, said it is very likely that a significant chunk of the contract, which he described as "hemispheric," will involve upgrading.

Tech Specs

DISA said it wants the winning DTS-P contractor to provide a network capable of supporting "multimedia services...delivered from the lowest tactical level to the highest strategic level as a result of secure connectivity across the entire warfare spectrum.''

DTS-P must handle everything from sub T-1 circuits (64 kilobits/sec) to 2,488 megabits/sec OC-48 service. Although DISA said the transmission services it plans to acquire will consist primarily of time division multiplex circuits, the agency plans to bundle these into its own private Asynchronous Transfer Mode network— a move that Suss said poses technical and supply challenges.

While long-haul trans-Pacific service to points such as bases in Japan and South Korea can be handled on a number of new fiber-optic cables, service to more remote areas, such as Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, will have to be done over satellite circuits. "ATM over satellite is not quite commercial at this point.... Not many satellite carriers have done it," a telecom source said.

An executive of a telecommunications carrier that may bid on the contract said it will be hard to meet DISA's technical requirements because they ignore the built-in lag-time for service from satellites orbiting 24,000 miles in space.

- Daniel Verton contributed to this article.

NEXT STORY: VA site reacts to war movie

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.