The Defense Information Systems Agency is planning major upgrades to the Pentagon’s classified and unclassified networks, according to twosolicitations released Nov. 15. The move represents a key technical milestone that will enable the department’s shift to cloud computing.
DISA may issue two or more contracts supporting a new requirement called Department of Defense Network (DoDNET) Services, which will deliver network operations and management, engineering, cybersecurity, and other support services, as well as capabilities such as software-defined networking.
Although the term “cloud” appears only once in each solicitation, the DoDNET Services contracts are intended to provide defense agencies with a stepping-stone to the CSRA-built MilCloud 2.0 and other Pentagon cloud programs.
“DOD is committed to providing the warfighter with an information environment that transforms data into actionable information rapidly and efficiently,” Pentagon spokesperson Heather Babb wrote in a statement to Bloomberg Government. “That’s why we are accelerating the optimization of DOD’s IT infrastructure with a focus on cloud adoption and data center consolidation as part of DoD’s reform activities.”
DoDNET users will include more than 50,000 employees within the Pentagon’s “fourth estate,” referring to the group of civilian-led Pentagon agencies that includes DISA and the Washington Headquarters Services.
In May, then-acting Pentagon chief information officer Essye Miller directed all fourth-estate agencies to migrate their IT assets to the Pentagon’s MilCloud 2.0 environment. In late August, DISA posted a sources-sought for “rapid cloud migration” to MilCloud, but canceled it only two days later.
To be eligible for consideration, contractors must be certified to perform work on the Pentagon’s secret internet router protocol network (SIPRnet) and its unclassified network (NIPRnet). The Pentagon is placing special emphasis on experience with “rapid network provisioning using innovation and automation, process maturation, and thoughtful cost reduction methodologies,” according to the solicitation.
One contract will be open to all competitors, while the other will be set aside for a certified Historically Under-utilized Business Zone, or HUBZone, business. DISA has not yet released ceiling values for either DoDNET Services solicitation. Based on the scope of work to be performed, Bloomberg Government projects that the first contract could be worth $100 million or more. The second could be worth $10 million to $100 million. The deadline to respond to both solicitations is Dec. 7.
Although DoDNET Services will focus on fourth-estate agencies, it may foreshadow additional network modernization opportunities across the Pentagon in preparation for enterprise-scale cloud programs, such as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, program.
Chris Cornillie is a federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government.