The DoD’s new plan for collaboration: “unified capabilities”

With an eye toward improving collaboration by moving everything via Internet Protocol, the Army’s Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS), project director for enterprise services (PD ES), has issued a Request for Information to better understand what the military is calling “unified capabilities” (UC).

The RFI was issued in conjunction with the Defense Information Systems Agency. DISA Director Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, Jr., described UC in an interview with Defense Systems that is now available at

“Our unified capability is going to be one of those disruptive technologies that move us away from the standard collaboration suite that we’ve used in the past,” he said. “For us, unified capability is the ability to move, as much as possible, everything over IP. When you get into that environment, you are able to collaborate at a very high data rate.”

According to the RFI’s problem statement: “the DoD currently relies on many different, disparate capabilities that are components of a desired UC solution. Many of these component capabilities are not integrated, limited in scale, at or near end-of-life, and targeted for specific commands or locales of use.

“As a 24x7x365 enterprise, the DoD requires a highly available UC solution across the entire set of users from mobile users and fixed installations to deployed soldiers utilizing austere communications, on the move, and in hostile environments. UC is expected to support administrative information processing, command and control, public safety, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”

Information is requested regarding current and emerging UC solutions in the following areas:

• Presence and awareness of users;

• Text and voice chat;

• Ad hoc and persistent workspaces;

• Video conferencing and interoperability with industry standards-based video teleconferencing with pre-planned and ad hoc meetings;

• Synchronous collaborative spaces, virtual whiteboards, screen sharing, application sharing, and document sharing with markup and editing;

• Telephony and telephony integration to allow, for example, method-independent voice access, dynamic routing of incoming calls to recipient’s currently accessible capabilities;

• Email integration with messaging, for example, receiving voicemail in email inbox;

• Device access for desktop computers, thin clients, and mobile devices; both government furnished and non-government furnished equipment;

• Role of standards and other capabilities to integrate into non-UC systems (e.g., war-fighting, medical, logistics systems, or war-fighter simulation systems);

• Integration with the DoD implementation of identity management with the use of common access cards;

• Integration with DoD implementation of public key infrastructure for digitally signing and encrypting messages;

• Recording and playback;

• Lifecycle management including user migration and helpdesk support;

• Deployment methodologies from fully DoD purchased, deployed, and maintained to fully provided as a service(s) by industry; and

• Integration into DoD enterprise directory.

Defense Systems Update

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