Enterprise IT

Army, Air Force partner on IT to save money, grow bandwidth

The U.S Air Force, Army and the Defense Information Systems Agency made an agreement on Aug. 28 that will increase bandwidth and network security while avoiding more than $1 billion in future costs. The partnership is viewed by the Defense Department in an "important step forward" in pursuing the Joint Information Environment.

Due to internal changes, the Army was left with excess information technology capacity, while the Air Force needed to modernize its IT architecture to meets its JIE requirements. By taking advantage of the Army's upgrade to faster multiprotocol label switching routers and regional security stacks, the Air Force was able to identify $1.2 billion in cost avoidance. The Air Force will also use the 15 joint regional security stacks the Army will roll out after consolidating hundreds of network security stacks. Through this development, the Army expects to save $785 million between fiscal years 2015 and 2019.

"It's great to have strong partners as we move toward JIE," said Gen. William L. Shelton, Air Force Space Command commander. "I especially appreciate the tremendous spirit of cooperation that has emerged between the Army, Air Force, and DISA teams."

Larger capacity MPLS routers will also help the Air Force and Army increase network speeds and backbone bandwidth. At Army installations, network speeds will rise to 10 gigabytes per second, much faster than the 650 megabytes per second speed currently operating in Fort Hood, Texas.

"As we do our investment in MPLS, it now allows us to do not only [Voice over Internet Protocol], it allows us to do unified capabilities and it allows us to put much more of this capability up at the enterprise level," Brig. Gen. Kevin Wooton, Air Force Space Command director of communication, said.

The Army and DISA plant to implement the joint MPLS transport cloud and JRSS consolidation in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 to support operations in Southwest Asia and the continental United States. The Air Force and Army will have access to the DISA-owned JRSSs as a joint capability.

"As we modernize the DOD network, the Army is committed to a joint solution that helps achieve the joint information environment," said Lt. Gen. Susan S. Lawrence, the Army's chief information officer.

Reader Comments

Thu, Oct 24, 2013 Laid off IT contractor

Dear Editor, Equipment wasn't sold to Air Force, Army CIO/G6 bought the equipment using funds that were supposed to be earmarked for general IT infrastructure upgrades and donated it to DISA. DISA is pitching the use of the equipment to Air Force. As a result normal large IT mod projects under I3MP are not being funded at normal levels. And I'm out of work......

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 Editor

DISA, the Army and Air Force described this "architecture-sharing" agreement as a "partnership" designed to speed deployment of the Joint Information Environment. They also noted that the Army is consolidating hundreds of "network security stacks" into 15 "joint regional security stacks" that the Air Force also will use. So far, so good. Given the complexities of military procurement, it's unclear whether in fact the Army "sold" excess equipment to the Air Force. DISA and the services attributed the surplus Army IT equipment to "force structure changes," but did not elaborate. The result, in Pentagon budget-speak, was $1.2 billion in "cost avoidance" for the Air Force. Only the bean counters at the Pentagon know for sure whether "cost avoidance" actually translates into actual savings.

Thu, Sep 5, 2013 What the?

I must be misreading this article but it seems to be suggesting that the Army bought too much hardware and then sold it to the Air Force. Can that even be possible? Does anyone have any more details? How big was the transaction?

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