Defense

Army hits reset button on intelligence-sharing system

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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.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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Reader comments

Mon, Aug 25, 2014 IT Reformer United States

Here we go again, hiring the same FFRDC, Mitre, to fix an engineering problem they helped create. Kevin Kelly is the author of this document, who has not real world IT experience based on his own bio. It was Mitre who guided the first increment that cost billions and failed to deliver. Now we are experiencing another Einstein moment, repeating the same process and expecting different results. To list a bunch of Mitre developed concepts; DI2E, JIE, IC-ITE, Army COE as a requirement creates a serious conflict of interests.

Fri, Aug 15, 2014 jon

That's what we get for hiring all these contractors! They get all the money and we get no product. It's been going on for yearss.

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