February 2, 2012

U.S. Army is requesting proposals for a new Intelligence Cloud Computing Environment

News Report

Here in this blog we have already covered the increasing focus of Govenrment and Military organizations on the transition of their IT infrastructures towards cloud computing and virtualisation (1,2,3,4). In the Unites States, in particular, data center consolidation and cloud computing appear as the Army's most important priorities — not just for saving money, but for getting information where it needs to be so that soldiers can meet their mission.

Within this context, the U.S. Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command's communications-electronics center, or CERDEC, recently hosted an Industry Day to inform potential technology development partners of new capabilities that support Army cloud computing development efforts and hear what potential partners could contribute to those efforts. As reported by U.S. Army, "the Program Manager Distributed Common Ground System-Army (PM DCGS-A) has identified the need to establish operational clouds at fixed sites and at regional nodes to support Army intelligence data collection and analytics capabilities".

In order to fulfill that need, the CERDEC Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate's Tactical Cloud Integration Laboratory (I2WD) asked industry, academia and other government organizations to submit proposals for capabilities such as multi-intelligence, all-source analysis correlation; platform and resource allocation and optimization algorithms, predictive analysis tools; language translation services; still image and graphic processing capabilities; advanced human intelligence exploitation; and advanced visualization and conceptualization tools.

All proposals were to assist in an effort to establish an infrastructure that supports the storage and management of multi-intelligence data and provides a computational framework that brings analytics to that data.

Not only did potential government contractors have the opportunity to present possible solutions to the U.S. Army's cloud computing gaps, but the event gave government personnel the chance to tell industry where the U.S. Army's focus is related to current and future forces, said Mark Kitz, technical director of PM DCGS-A.  Developing cloud technology is important to the intelligence community as a component of DCGS-A, which is the Army's core intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance enterprise system, said Kitz. "It uses the latest in cloud technology to rapidly gather, collaborate and share intelligence data from multiple sources to deliver a common operating picture. DCGS-A is able to rapidly adapt to changing operational environments by leveraging an iterative development model and open architecture allowing for collaboration with multiple government, industry and academic partners," said Kitz.

The ultimate objective is to get technology out to Soldiers by maturing the capabilities and getting it to the DCGS Standard Cloud, said Upesh Patel, CERDEC I2WD TCIL technical director.  "This is a continuous process evolving over time, not a one shot deal. Requirements change and involve user driven- mission input," he stated.   

References: C4I Technology News (1,2,3,4), U.S. Army (5)

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