Army test drives transformation

A pilot project in the Washington, D.C., area will serve as a test bed for the Army's vision of an enterprise 'infostructure'

The Army has begun a limited project in the Washington, D.C., area to test out key concepts of a top-level initiative intended to link information systems servicewide into a single infrastructure.

As part of the Army's Enterprise Infostructure Transformation program, the service wants to standardize desktop computers and servers on a core set of software based on Microsoft Corp. Windows 2000 and Active Directory software.

Under a $1.8 million contract awarded last month, Telos Corp. will assess the viability of migrating Army users in the Military District of Washington. If the idea looks good, the contract, which could exceed $6 million, includes options for installing the software on more than 26,000 server and desktop systems.

Active Directory is a technology that enables a systems administrator to manage systems on a network and who has access to those resources. The infostructure program is intended to reduce the cost of maintaining information systems, while improving access to information and applications across the service.

Sandy Sieber, associate director of the Army Communications-Electronics Command's Acquisition Center-Washington, said the pilot project will be used as a test to "feed into what they decide to do Armywide."

The Telos team includes IBM Corp., Advanced Technology Systems, NCI Information Systems Inc., Internosis and Abacus Technology Corp.

For years, the Army has had a "distributed and heterogeneous environment at the [information technology] level," said Ralph Buona, vice president of new business development at Ashburn, Va.-based Telos. "[The Military District of Washington] is acting as a proof of concept to the larger [enterprisewide] centralization process."

The pilot will be performed initially at Fort Belvoir, Va., and upon successful completion, the Army has the option to include the other five locations that comprise the Washington military district: Fort Myer, Va.; Fort Meade, Md.; Fort Hamilton, N.Y.; Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.; and Fort AP Hill, Va., Sieber said.

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