USSOCOM Fields Innovative Technology at SOFWERX

By Ryan Granato, analyst

Demand for new communications and network capabilities for both the Command and the operator are of the highest priority for USSOCOM these days and were oft-repeated themes during the recent Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. SOFIC has turned into the event where industry and government converge every year to showcase current capabilities and discuss mission-related technology challenges.

According to Jim Smith, USSOCOM’s acquisition executive, current communication requirements revolve around issues such as network visibility, assured communications and reduced digital signature to avoid detection in operating environments. Solutions that address IoT and edge computing complement the command’s need for a fully-connected and sensor-enabled operator. In doing business with USSOCOM, Smith emphasized the importance of utilizing SOFWERX.

USSOCOM typically fields new capabilities at a rate much higher than their counterparts. However, technology continues to advance at a rate that traditional government acquisition processes cannot keep pace with. In response, USSOCOM launched SOFWERX, a technology incubator of its own to increase government and industry collaboration through a variety of USSOCOM-hosted projects and events. Kelly Stratton-Feix, director of Acquisition Agility at SOFWERX, stated that the immediate priorities set forth for SOFWERX are shorter procurement cycles and increased support of small businesses.

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Opportunity for Vendors to Shape IoT Standards in State Government

Rachel Eckert_100 x 135

By Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

Like many other states, Ohio has a multitude of smart, connected projects that include a drone detection system, autonomous and connected vehicle corridors, and a federally funded smart city project in Columbus. You can now find another project underway: the development of a new common framework for the state’s digital transportation technologies.

A contract to create this framework was awarded to AECOM Technical Services and is pending state legislative approval. AECOM has been tasked with developing strategies to ensure device interoperability, proper data management and effective government-industry partnerships. The goal of this exercise is to make sure that all of the technology developments that go into creating autonomous vehicles can be implemented on standardized technology platforms that will enable an autonomous vehicle to traverse the entire state without problems.

To understand the magnitude of an endeavor like this, you must understand how the typical IoT or “smart” project is developed. Typically, governments develop ideas and pilots in a vacuum, each embarking on their own “from scratch” initiative. Each initiative requires the development of infrastructure and networking, selection of devices, deployment of technology, and collection of data and analysis. For governments like the City of Columbus, this doesn’t present an insurmountable task as many of the necessary pieces already exist. However, where this becomes a barrier is at smaller local governments who don’t have the staff, resources or funding to plan and implement each of those steps.

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3 Air Force IT Opportunities to Pursue

By Stephanie Meloni, Senior AnalystStephanie Meloni_65x85AF

If you listened to my Selling IT to the Air Force Webinar last week, you probably heard a recurring theme: Air Force is driving toward multi-domain operations. This means syncing operations between air, land, space, and cyber.

The good news is the service has the budget for it. The Air Force is actually one place in the Defense Department that’s had an increase in its FY17 IT budget request—3 percent higher from the FY16 enacted budget. There’s a jump in requested funding for both buckets of money—steady state (also known as OPEX) and DME (also known as CAPEX)—for acquisition of new capabilities, with about a $120 million jump for FY17.

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Future Operating Concept Creating Opportunities for Tech Companies

Air Force Graphic_240x138Stephanie Meloni_65x85By Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

The Air Force is starting to shift IT priorities toward space, cyberspace, and C2ISR, which speaks to the service’s overall plan for future operations. The Air Force will want to achieve dominance across all domains in order to enable air superiority. This will be one of many topics covered during my one-hour Webinar on Air Force IT Sales Opportunities: Where to Aim High in FY17 on May 12.

The Air Force Future Operating Concept will depend on operating in a multi-domain environment. This means the Air Force wants to synchronize information coming from air, ground, intelligence, and especially cyberspace in order to get the full picture of what is happening across the warfighting domain.

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