TOWSON, Md. — The Pentagon is set to award a new $9 billion multi-vendor contract for its key military cloud computing backbone by mid-December after delaying the effort earlier this year, officials from the Defense Information Systems Agency said today.
Sharon Woods, director of DISA’s Hosting and Compute Center, told reporters that officials “have a very high level of confidence in the mid-December award” for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), the successor to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract that was scrapped in 2021.
Contracts were initially expected to be awarded for JWCC in April, but after sending formal solicitations to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google and Oracle, the Pentagon decided to delay the contract award.
DoD Chief Information Officer John Sherman told reporters in March that initial JWCC contracts will be a three-year base with two one-year options followed by a “full and open competition for a future multi-cloud acquisition.” The new timeline shifts that future competition to early 2026 instead of 2025 and there will be individual task orders awarded based on mission owner requirements. JWCC aims to meet specific capability gaps that span all classification levels — unclassified, secret and top secret.
“So the timeline of the contract is that the unclassified environment will be available 30 days after contract award, secret is 60 days out per contract award, and then top secret is 180 days after contract award,” Woods said. “Each of the vendors are in different levels of maturity, and so some vendors need to deliver more quickly than others. But those are the requirements under the contract.”
The hope is that the military services will eventually transition to JWCC, although that’s not a requirement currently. Woods added service-specific cloud programs are complementary to what the JWCC will deliver.
DISA Plans To Make Award For ‘Foundational Component’ Of JADC2
Meanwhile, DISA is getting ready to make an award for the Electromagnetic Battle Management System, a situational awareness tool that aims to enable Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations cells and has been described as being a “foundational component” of the Pentagon’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) effort, by the end of fiscal 2023.
“So we’re working on, in Q2 of [FY]23, releasing that [an Other Transaction Authority] with award at the end of the year and what I would say is, it’s interesting, you know, we’re doing it in a two step fashion,” Jason Martin, director of DISA’s Digital Capabilities and Security Center, said. “We’ve got the ability to…show current information and then to be able to consume information to present this common picture. Secondarily, it really becomes the integration with the services themselves to ensure we are sharing that spectrum, battle management planning, and the overall information in a common framework so everyone can see it.”
EMBS is a joint effort between DISA and the DoD CIO’s office that will be a “new step” from a spectrum perspective, Martin added. DISA released a white paper request for EBMS last June and noted the Pentagon has never had a capability like it before.
With EBMS, the goal is to have a prototype that would advance EMS planning capabilities, improve data sharing and enable joint command and control of the EMS cells. The effort is broken down into four capability “levels” – situational awareness, decision support, command and control and training support.