Army delays new JNN RFP

The Army is waiting another month to request bids for building and fielding more Joint Network Nodes (JNN).

The acquisition covers JNN equipment and services for three more Army units. The nodes are the service’s new IP-based system that provides more mobile battlefield communications. The 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq is currently using the first JNN version under a sole-source contract awarded to General Dynamics last year.

Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle, the Army’s chief information officer, said Oct. 4 that he and Lt. Gen. Joseph Yakovac, the service’s top acquisition officer, want more time to review the solicitation to make sure it includes the most current technology. The Army originally planned to issue the request for proposals this week.

Answering questions about the new JNN procurement yesterday during a media briefing at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference, Boutelle said they want the latest JNN version to include technologies that will be part of the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), the Army’s mobile, future battlefield communications system due later this decade.

The Army and Congress reached a deal last year that reworked service funding and earmarked $247 million for soldiers in the 101st Airborne, 10th Mountain and 4th Infantry divisions to receive JNN under the program’s first phase. Soldiers in the 1st Cavalry, 25th Infantry and 82nd Airborne divisions will get the system under Phase 2.

The delayed RFP covers the third phase. JNN serves as the bridge between WIN-T and the Mobile Subscriber Equipment-Triservices Tactical terminals, the less mobile, Cold War-era system that the Army is phasing out. Based on lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers need a battlefield communications system that allows them to talk to one another in flat or mountainous terrain.

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