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Cloud

DOD sets tight timeline for DEOS

The Defense Department's $8 billion office software acquisition appears to be on the fast track.

The approximately $8 billion Defense Enterprise Office Solution or DEOS is designed to replace legacy applications with cloud-based email, productivity, chat, voice and video functions at headquarters agencies and across the military services.

DOD expects to approve an acquisition plan, including a decision on whether to pursue a single or multiple award and issue a draft quote request in January 2019. In Feburary a final solicitation is due, with an award or awards in April.

But skepticism remains over whether the military branches will go for a centralized plan. During a Dec. 3 industry day, the Defense Information Systems Agency's enterprise services development chief, Brian Herman, said a single solution for all was the only option when asked about the potential lack of adoption across the organization.

"We can't afford to pay for duplicative capabilities," Herman said. "We are really asking a tremendous amount of change to the organizations within the Department of Defense that either do this themselves today or hire their own contractors to do this. So there's a real significant effort to migrate users over to this service."

Kevin Tate, management analyst for the DOD CIO's office, said the services, at the senior level, are embracing a move to DEOS. "As we build on that early implementation, and the opportunities arise for the others to off ramp from their existing vehicles into DEOS we are anticipating they will do that," Tate said.

The General Services Administration is handling the ordering process and DISA is taking on the technical work for integrations.

DISA has been working on pilots with groups of users moving over to cloud-based services to learn more about how DOD's existing infrastructure can support the traffic that DEOS would generate over cloud access points, security stacks, and more.

"We're using those as a mechanism to understand how migrations work, how the network responds, and what we need to do to be prepared for DEOS," Herman said, adding that DISA was working with military departments to pilot DEOS capabilities for low bandwidth users "to understand how best to leverage cloud based services in that more tactical environment."

Hassan Harris, senior contracting officer with GSA, said that the acquisition strategy is still being developed and the role of small businesses hadn't yet been decided. However, DOD's interoperability requirements, which include reach to the tactical edge worldwide, could be a barrier, Herman said.

"The challenge is to make sure that we balance an enterprise-level service and interoperability with making sure that you can deliver that interoperable solution for the entire Department of Defense," he said, but that plenty of partnership opportunities and support, ancillary capabilities associated with migrations" for small businesses to participate in.

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 lwilliams@fcw.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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