Defence plots mammoth deployed IT overhaul

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Defence plots mammoth deployed IT overhaul

Sustainment shake-up to future proof ADF networks.

The networking infrastructure underpinning ADF personnel during military operations is set for significant overhaul as part of a radical shakeup of deployed IT support arrangements.

The Department of Defence has revealed plans to transform the sustainment of deployed IT capabilities across the four key networks used by the Navy, Army and Air Force.

The project will ensure Defence can deliver a “reliable secure warfighting and business network” that offers ADF personnel access to mission critical information “at the right time and place”.

It forms a component of the department's ongoing shift towards a consolidated information environment, prompted by the 2015 First Principles Review to help bring about the One Defence business model.

As part of this broader program, the chief information officer group (CIOG) is currently focused on addressing redundancy, disjunction and interoperability challenges with four major deployed networks.

The networks include Jackstay Land, which serves both the Army and Air Force, and the Navy’s fleet information environment, which is currently undergoing its own separate transformation.

Other networks like the special operations network and the mission partner environment used to share information with Five Eyes members are fall in scope.

However, all four networks currently suffer from time consuming legacy processes, immature partnering and limited interoperability that currently restrict deployed ICT capabilities.

Documents reveal CIOG is planning to introduce a “co-designed, interoperable and modern solution” provided by external partners as part of the sustainment overhaul that will eventually see all deployed networks supported by a "common support system".

This will allow Defence to focus on "core operations whilst governing sustainment activities".

At present, networks in the deployed IT environment are serviced using a combination of ADF and public service personnel, contractors and external service providers.

New deals across a total of seven separate work bundles will be established to replace existing hybrid service delivery arrangements used to support four major deployed networks.

The largest of the seven bundles is work package one, which spans end user computing and workplace, user support and service desk, infrastructure and centralised compute, and network support

Packages two, three and four cover identity and access management, application services and logistics services, respectively, while packages five, six and seven cover project services, security and IT service management.

Defence CIOG expects the transformation will take the department from having “an infrastructure-centric approach to ICT, to a more agile information-centric approach where change is delivered at high velocity”.

Following the initial request for expressions of interest process, Defence intends to conduct a request for proposal where it will down select at least one respondent for each of the seven work packages.

Only those respondents with the ability to mange and store classified information up to the secret security classification.  

A co-design process – or offer definition improvement activity – will then be use to “further explore, understand and mitigate the risks of a solution prior to contract signature” and better understand Defence’s requirements before a final RFP is submitted.

Defence expects the contract to begin in July 2020, with service deliver to start in August 2020.

The deployed ICT overhaul comes just months after Defence quietly opened tendering for its long-awaited e-health records platform for ADF personnel.

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