The Army awarded the pilot effort for Satellite Communications (SATCOM) as a Managed Service (SaaMS) on Sep. 26, 2023, to DRS Global Enterprise Solution and Intelsat to execute activities to inform potential business practices and capability integration or use.
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. 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, versus procuring, fielding, sustaining and modernizing the equipment in house.
"A SaaMS business model could more efficiently support Soldiers in diverse locations with diverse mission challenges during large scale combat operations,” said Col. Stuart McMillan, project manager for Tactical Network, at the Program Executive Office, Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), “A SaaMS business model could also provide for rapid tech insertions and opportunities to mitigate surge requirements.”
The scope of this SaaMS Pilot includes six months of turnkey, end-to-end managed subscription services to support connectivity to commercial teleports and internet services to enhance units’ SATCOM capability and Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency (PACE) communications.
“We need multiple approaches to contract for SATCOM hardware, software, satellite coverage, and network support. A SaaMS model could provide a quicker procurement path depending on the ultimate SaaMS model/solution,” said Lt. Col. Mark Scott, product manager for Unified Network Capabilities and Integration, assigned to Project Manager Tactical Network (PM TN). “By leveraging commercial research and development, SaaMS could enable the Army to integrate new commercial capabilities into the fleet at a much quicker pace and at less cost, compared to traditional procurement methods.”
The pilot award is for 12 months with a target minimum of six months and additional orders as required. The SaaMS Pilot is expected to begin in the first quarter of fiscal year 2024 in several regional coverage areas around the globe. The intent is not to create a separate SaaMS evaluation event, but to enable operational units to use the capability to best suit their needs and roll it into their existing training events.
The SaaMS pilot will inform Army of 2030 network design decisions that may establish managed subscription services that encompass current and emerging SATCOM capabilities being used in private industry.