Army readies new JNN procurement

Vendors want the Army to open competition for building and fielding the mobile battlefield communcations system.

Army officials will announce plans soon for a new procurement for building and fielding the service’s Joint Network Node, said an industry official familiar with the situation.

The 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq is currently using JNN, a mobile battlefield communications system developed under a sole-source contract awarded to General Dynamics last year.

The new procurement will likely cover equipment and services for the service’s eighth, ninth and 10th units that will get JNN, said an industry official, who requested anonymity.

Tim Rider, spokesman for the Army’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, said the office, which oversees the procurement and fielding of the new battlefield communications system, could not confirm the procurement “until we make a commitment to a decision on potential future solicitations."

The Army issued three JNN-related procurement notices last month and five in June. Some defense contractors want the service to open up the multimillion-dollar program.

“If there is a competition, we are certainly going to bid,” said Jim Hardin, director of business development for command, control and communications at Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems business unit.

Matt Kramer, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin, said the company noticed the recent JNN task orders and intended to reply to some of them. “We are looking to see if they are in our core capabilities,” Kramer said.

Lockheed Martin is a subcontractor to General Dynamics for the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), the Army’s mobile, next-generation battlefield communications system that is due in a few years. JNN serves as the bridge between WIN-T and the Mobile Subscriber Equipment-Triservices Tactical terminals, the less mobile, Cold War-era system now getting phased out of the service.

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, and the service is planning a Phase 3.

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