The thinking behind DISA's $8 billion DEOS contract

business opportunity (Khakimullin Aleksandr/ 

The Defense Department's multibillion dollar cloud-based email and messaging contract, Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS), could be settled early next year.

Terry Carpenter, services deployment executive for the Defense Information Systems Agency, said DISA is "pushing hard to get something through at the end of the year," when talking with reporters during AFCEA's cybersecurity event in Baltimore May 16.

DISA Procurement Services Executive Doug Packard added that the final request for proposals is slated for the end of June, with a possible award by the second quarter of fiscal 2019.

Carpenter elaborated on the scheme behind the draft RFP, which had a comment period that ended earlier this month, saying the goal is to "deploy the same software" for an estimated 3.5 million users across the organization's classified and unclassified networks called NIPRNet and SIPRNet, respectively. 

"There are standards for chat, there are standards for voice, there are standards for different capabilities with the exception of collaboration," Carpenter said. That's why "we're going with a single solution to get that commonality and efficiency that we know we can get by moving to a solution like this."

DEOS has three phases each with different capability sets aimed at aligning collaboration tools such as email and chat functions, and enhancing enterprise voice and video capabilities.

The initial DEOS solicitation will focus on collaboration tools. The second and third capability sets will focus on enterprise voice and video capability beyond peer-to-peer.

"The idea is to buy the commodity solution that's available for DOD, use within our security guidelines, that's the intent. We don't want to take something and change it," Carpenter said. 

The $8 billion DEOS contract is, in some ways, the counterpart to DOD's scrutinized $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure acquisition. Like JEDI, the acquisition will supplant stovepipe legacy systems across the organization such as Defense Enterprise Email.

Carpenter said the agency has mapped legacy systems that are currently providing the services to be replaced by DEOS capabilities, such as Defense Collaboration Systems and DCS chat.

DEOS is also meant to be an evolving solution that keeps pace with industry. DISA Technical Director Steve Wallace said there's about a two-year span -- and increasing -- from what vendors offer versus what they put on the shelves.

"The vendors have clearly signaled they are moving away from their [commercial-off-the-shelf] approach to products and moving toward software as a service," Wallace said.

"In terms of what's getting offered with DEOS, it'll be a constantly evolving service, and we won't have to wait for vendors to turn out their COTS products."

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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