U.S. Army prepares for SATCOM as a Managed Service Pilot; releases draft performance of work statement

By Amy Walker, PM TN, PEO C3TDecember 8, 2022


ABERDEREN PROVING GROUND, Md. (December 07, 2022) – Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), in collaboration with the U.S. Space Force (USSF), released a draft Performance Work Statement (PWS) this week in support of an upcoming Satellite Communications (SATCOM) as a Managed Service (SaaMS) Pilot. The intent of the pilot is to inform decisions on the Army’s potential use of commercially leased SATCOM network services that would be flexible and tailorable to changing mission needs.

The Army expects the final SaaMS Pilot Request for Proposal (RFP) to be released in January 2023, through the existing Commercial Satellite Communications (COMSATCOM) Subscription Services (CSS) Contract managed by Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)/Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO).

The pilot award will be for 12 months with a target minimum of six months of service and additional orders as required. The draft PWS was posted to GSA eBuy on December 6, 2022 with industry comments due on December 16. Posting the draft PWS allows industry to understand what work will be required to perform on the contract and allows the government an opportunity to gain industry feedback prior to the RFP release.

In-line with the Army’s Unified Network Plan, the service is looking at a SaaMS business model to more affordably keep up with the accelerating speed of technology advancement, while reducing resource and budget burdens, equipment obsolescence and other sustainment challenges.

“As the Army continues to rapidly modernize the tactical network leveraging commercially available solutions while concurrently enhancing network resiliency and security; we are looking to industry to not only deliver the newest innovated solutions but provide ideas that could support this new business model,” said Col. Shane Taylor, project manager for Tactical Network, PEO C3T.

On the current timeline, the Army plans to begin the SaaMS pilot in the summer of 2023. The SATCOM pilot coverage areas will include the continental U.S., European and Indonesia-Pacific areas of responsibility and will be supported by Army units during existing training exercise schedules in these locations. The pilot will assess varying degrees of service models in support of a leased end-to-end global network via satellites, including tailorable features such as terminals, use of airtime, security compliance, logistics and repair.

How can industry help?

·      Provide a business model based on various levels of data usage

·      Ensure current and future cybersecurity compliance

·      Simplify operation for Non-Signal Soldiers; provide easy-to-use Soldier-centric designs

·      Reduce physical footprint (size, weight, and power)

·      Increase resiliency and flexibility of the Army’s tactical SATCOM network

·      Provide scalability with changing mission requirements

·      Enable an affordable, sustainable, and accelerated lifecycle

·      Meet current and evolving cyber and transmission security requirements as new threats are identified

·       Provide realistic cost information to inform affordability assessments

“We are asking industry to propose modern innovative solutions to support U.S. Army units that may need to operate in dispersed locations with varying SATCOM requirements,” said Lt. Col. Mark Scott, product manager for Unified Network Capabilities and Integration, assigned to Project Manager Tactical Network.

The SaaMS pilot will ultimately inform decisions on establishing managed subscription services that encompass current and emerging SATCOM capabilities being used in private industry. After the initial pilot, the Army will write an assessment report that will inform future SaaMS efforts. SaaMS would not be a one-size-fits-all model, but a modular, scalable and flexible approach that could tailor to wide variety of different missions and threats.

“We need to understand how quickly and effectively SaaMS can scale as mission needs ebb and flow in a rapid multi-domain operational environment,” Taylor said. “Partnering with industry, coupled with support from operational units using leased commercial equipment and services during existing training exercises, will help us deliver, integrate, train and sustain flexible resilient solutions that optimally support changing mission needs.”