DOD plans big IT grid

The Global Information Grid is just a concept now, but by 2006 it likely

will grow into one of the Defense Department's biggest programs, according

to a study by the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association.

GIG is designed to provide seamless, fully interoperable data to military

forces, from regional commanders in chief to soldiers in the foxhole — to

be, in short, the glue that joins the military's disparate command, control,

communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance

systems.

GIG is not yet a formal program and therefore has no money allocated

directly to it in the federal budget. But the concept is being fed by hundreds

of existing programs, including the Future Combat System, DD-21, Warfighter

Information Network-Tactical and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications

System.

Until 2005, the work related to GIG will lie in myriad programs, according

to the association's 10-year market report. But after 2006, GIG will congeal

and become its own line item — probably becoming "the largest system of

systems item that we can see for now out there," said Franz Hirschmann,

co-chairman of the association's committee on information assurance.

GIG will be funded with already budgeted money instead of additional

funds, Hirschmann said.

Although GIG is a priority within the office of assistant secretary

of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence and for

the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it has to receive support from a national figure,

association officials said.

"Something as important and as big as the GIG should have full presidential

support. In the absence of that, [the military] would settle for the full

support of the secretary of Defense," Hirschmann said.

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