FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- The Army is conducting a pilot to transform the way it provides enterprise information technology (IT) at its installations. This initiative, called Enterprise IT as a Service (EITaaS), is a cooperative effort between Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER), Army Contracting Command -- New Jersey (ACC-NJ), office of the Army Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G-6, and Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS). EITaaS is a departure from the Army's current, government-owned and operated approach to enterprise IT delivery, and looks to industry to provide a reliable, resilient and secure network. This effort is informed by similar pilots conducted by both interagency and joint service partners.
Kicking off the pilot process, PEO EIS hosted an EITaaS government/industry collaboration day at Fort Belvoir, Virginia on May 7, 2019. The event garnered a high level of interest among industry, prompting organizers to add a second session to accommodate the nearly 400 registered attendees.
In his keynote address, ARCYBER Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, spoke about the Army's intent for the EITaaS initiative and solicited candid feedback from industry. "What we want to do is make a dramatic improvement in the network and IT capabilities that we're providing the Army, and we want to be able to do it at a fair cost, we want to do it really according to industry standards," Fogarty said. "(W)e've got to work with industry to help define what those potential methods of delivery could be."
Fogarty told attendees that Army leaders were looking for "transformational" approaches to enterprise IT delivery, and stressed that all options were on the table. "For us, this really is a transformation of the way we're looking at the network, the way we think we can solve this very tough, very important problem for the Army," Fogarty said.
The EITaaS pilot will initially focus on Army Futures Command headquarters in Austin, Texas and Fogarty said the effort could expand to two additional locations in fiscal year 2019. "There is potential for two additional pilots this fiscal year, so for us the ability to take the lessons learned from this process and see how fast we can turn additional pilots, will be critically important," Fogarty said.
To deliver this prototype solution, the Army is considering the Other Transaction Authority (OTA) under 10 USC 2371b, which allows the Department of Defense to shortcut the traditional acquisition process for certain prototype and pilot projects. Chris Fotiadis, an agreements officer from ACC-NJ, spoke about prototype OTA agreements, and the requirements to use them. "In order to qualify for an OTA project, you have to meet three really critical criteria," Fotiadis said. The project must be defined as a prototype, it must directly enhance mission effectiveness, and it must have significant non-traditional defense contractor participation (or 1/3 cost sharing by traditional defense contractors). After the initial prototype phase, the Army will likely award production and implementation via the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) based contract with competition.
Col. Kevin Litwhiler, deputy commander of Digital Integration, Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM), explained the draft acquisition approach and highlighted areas where the Army is seeking input from industry. Among other questions, Litwhiler asked how industry representatives would restructure the EITaaS lines of effort, and which DoD or Army policies they might recommend replacing with commercial standards. "Policies can change," Litwhiler said. "We need you all to advise us of what you think is the barrier to entry, what is going to cause you some challenges, so we can understand what we need to look at with the new technologies, and what is an equivalency to our current policies and current structure," so they can be updated if needed.
Dan Joyce, assistant PEO for Networks, Cyber and Services at PEO EIS, said the prototype proposal opportunity notice is tentatively scheduled for publication on June 5.
For more information on the EITaaS pilot sources sought notice, search solicitation number W15QKN-19-X-05Z1 on fbo.gov. All presentation slides from the event are available at: https://www.fbo.gov/utils/view?id=ac5685d7a87e45c20585c1e379feb72e