After years of neglect and numerous military budget cuts, the U.S air force is slowly roaring back to life. The Trump administration has made good its promise to reverse the course of reduced spending in the military.
The military was granted a total budget of $684 billion dollars for the fiscal year 2019. Although the Air force is the youngest of the military branches, it received about $161 million dollars budget allocation.
The Air Force is already putting their share of the military budget to good use. In the last 3 months alone, the Airforce has awarded more than 200 contracts for various projects. The coveted Air Force Intelligence System support is the latest, no doubt many more are expected before the year ends.
Particulars of the Contract
This award sealed General Dynamic’s legacy as the sole network provider for the U.S Air Force’s Distributed Common Ground System(DCGS). The announcement was made by the company’s Vice President, Leigh Palmer who is also in charge of GDIT defense division.
The decision was a no brainer considering that GDIT developed the initial design for the global intelligence system network. This huge investment is part of modernizing the Air Force in order to support the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing. The entire contract is estimated to worth around $217 million.
The news came just months after General Dynamics Information Technology was awarded the F-35 joint strike contract worth $155 million. The Air Force Intelligence System contract is to be undertaken in a nine-month base period and includes seven one-year options. Together with the possible six-month extension, the project will take a total of 8 years to complete. Assuming works begins without delay at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia and Beale Air Force Base in California, the project will be concluded by end of January 2027.
DCGS still remains the Air Force’s primary ISR collecting, analyzing, processing and dissemination weapon system. The technology is referred to as AN/SQ-272 SENTINEL within the force. The system is a robust global communication technology that seamlessly connects multiple intelligence platforms, DoD sensors, and networks. Acting as a high-speed intelligence superhighway for all US military personnel across the globe. Such a system is instrumental in providing time-sensitive information for joint-missions in war-torn locales.
The data obtained from the selected ISR platforms helps the Air Force effectively participate in joint peacekeeping missions including those led by NATO, US Africa Command and the United Nations. Through this latest contract, GDIT will continue to provide full range cybersecurity and IT services. A role the company has played for the last two decades. The task order includes support of the DCGS with network engineering, network administration, system administration, and project management.
The Idea is to Expand the Industrial Base
A large number of contracts awarded by the Air Force is due to deliberate efforts to speed up the contract awarding process. The process was initially slow with some major contracts taking years to gain approval. This shift in expediency means that even smaller companies will have a share.
The Air Force hosted an event dubbed ‘pitch day’ in New York. The concept was to set a day that budding entrepreneurs can go and pitch their ideas to the Air Force.
Successful companies from the event receive ‘seed money’ within hours of being selected. Similar events are expected to be rolled out to the rest of the country. The Air Force is determined to change the laborious and cumbersome process of getting military contracts.