New contract for Joint Test and Evaluation could total $937M

Editor's note: This story was updated at 11:25 a.m. March 5, 2007. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

The Defense Department announced this week a contract for services supporting the Joint Test and Evaluation (JT&E) Program Office that could total $937 million in the next 10 years. JT&E will use the money to develop future concepts for joint warfighting and homeland defense.

The indefinite-quantity, indefinite-delivery awards went to Science Applications International Corp., Syracuse Research Corp., Wyle Laboratories and Bevilacqua Research. Those four firms will compete for task orders to provide a range of service and support functions for JT&E projects. The contract is a follow-up to a similar one, which included SAIC and SRC, that expires this year.

The JT&E office was created based on a 1970 Blue Ribbon Defense Panel Report to facilitate joint operations and concept testing. The office was re-engineered in 2002 to focus on faster delivery of short-term projects that meet current warfighting needs.

JT&E is conducting three joint feasibility studies, seven-month efforts to vet an idea and build consensus among various DOD interest communities. They are the Joint Air Defense Operations-Homeland (JADO-H), the Joint Electronic Protection for Air Combat (JEPAC) and the Joint Non-Kinetic Effects Integration (JNKEI) concepts.

JADO-H, led by the U.S. Northern Command, focuses on coordinating traditional systems around the continental United States in new ways to counter nontraditional threats. JEPAC is an Air Force initiative that integrates target-tracking capabilities to improve electronic protection and combat effectiveness. JKNEI seeks to combine electronic attack, computer network attack and offensive space control. It is led by U.S. Strategic Command.

An advisory council will select two of the three concepts this summer to be fully funded. Then, three new concepts will begin the evaluation process.

All the concepts JT&E are studying have value and have already survived several rounds of competition, said David Rolston, SAIC's Joint Test and Evaluation program manager. “They’re all important,” he said, “but with limited resources you can only fund so many of them.”

Some concepts that emerged from the JT&E process are making a difference in ongoing operations today, Ralston said. A previous effort, known then simply as Joint Warfighter, examined time-sensitive targeting. Joint Warfighter used Microsoft Office applications to connect command nodes, which reduced reaction and target engagement time, he said.

The concept was later adapted and modified to become the target manager for the Joint Defense Operations Center, Ralston said.

No task orders have come out since the award was made in January, said Ralston, but requests for proposals are imminent for three projects: Southcom’s JHAWK, a third-party Tomahawk missile targeting effort; Global Combat Support System, which will integrate information databases; and a classified project, he said.

Titan Group, Centel, and Computer Sciences Corp., all incumbents on the previous JT&E contract, were left off of this award.

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