Army eyes tactical cloud computing to distribute situational awareness on the battlefield

DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Md., 17 Aug. 2012. U.S. Army researchers are attempting to apply tactical cloud computing to battlefield command and control (C2) by enabling warfighters to access crucial C2 and intelligence services with a wide variety of military computers of variable link capacities located anywhere on the battlefield.

The Army Communications Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. issued a broad agency announcement (BAA W15P7T12RA216) entitled Command and Control Applications For the Decisive Edge, which includes a topic called Command & Control Tactical Cloud Computing Environment.

The tactical cloud computing project, sponsored by the CERDEC Command, Power & Integration (CP&I) Directorate, seeks to enable warfighters on the forward edge of the battlefield to use cloud computing to access important situational awareness information using data radios, wearable computers, rugged laptop computers, and other rugged mobile computing devices.

The intent, Army researchers say, is to promote cost savings, automation, resource sharing, scalability, and mobility that enable users to access critical C2 and intelligence services with heterogeneous platforms -- or whatever computing devices they have on hand.

Tactical cloud computing developed in this program must comprise a common framework, software development kit (SDK), and toolkits that enable users to develop new services that can be deployed and brought up quickly.

Traditional Army command-and-control systems have been designed with proprietary protocols and operated within stovepipes on dedicated networks and computers that make it extremely difficult to share information among C2 systems developed by different organizations, Army researchers explain.

As the Army moves into network-centric operations, its organizations are enabling their C2 systems to exchange information through web services -- as long as they comply to U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) standards and security guidelines.

With low bandwidth and limited network connectivity, however, warfighters cannot access real time C2 information available at the enterprise level and even at different echelons to conduct daily missions.

As a result, the Army needs a new infrastructure for tactical environments with constrained resources that are robust and flexible enough to provide similar enterprise capabilities such as resource management; rapid provisioning; load balancing; fault tolerance; security; integration of clouds with military communications; and inter-cloud federation.

This solicitation will be open for five years, and will close on 16 July 2017. Companies interested in submitting bids may do so any time during this period. Submit white papers and full proposals via the Army Single Face to Industry (ASFI) Webpage at https://acquisition.army.mil/.

For questions or concerns, the technical point of contact for the tactical cloud computing project is Oanh Trinh, who can be reached by phone at 443-395-0367, or by e-mail at oanh.trinh@us.army.mil.

The contracting points of contact for this tactical cloud computing program are Contract Specialist Melissa Bettinger, who can be reached by e-mail at melissa.a.bettinger.civ@mail.mil, or Contracting Officer Clintonia Fletcher, who can be reached by e-mail at clintonia.m.fletcher.civ@mail.mil

More information is available online at https://www.fbo.gov/notices/7bfc6ab6fe87153171feb70e0ddd4960.

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