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New Defence panel reflects changing technology needs

by Sam Murphy •
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The Department of Defence (Defence) is replacing its expiring Defence Infrastructure Site Integration Panel with what could become an important new panel it is calling the Defence ICT Infrastructure Site Integration and Project Management Services Panel.  

According to a Defence spokesperson, the name change reflects new technologies and services that will be procured via the new panel. The spokesperson said, “The change in name is to provide clear differentiation from the old panel, and better reflect the services provided under the new panel.”

The Defence spokesperson confirmed to Intermedium that the outgoing Defence Infrastructure Site Integration Panel has exhausted all its extension options.

The previous panel (SON 379715) had seven ICT suppliers on it: Boeing Defence Australia; CDM Ltd; Codarra Advanced Systems; Frame Group; Fujitsu; Thales and UXC. 

Over its seven-year life, the total value of contracts that explicitly referenced the panel’s SON identifier was $51.8 million.  However it is highly likely the total value of business procured from the panel was higher than this, as Defence does not always publish the relevant SON identifier with its contracts.

A Request For Tender (RFT) has been issued for the standing offer arrangement and suppliers on the incoming panel will be responsible for the end-to-end delivery of a number of ICT capabilities:

  • Defence Information Environments (covering multiple domains and/or security classifications as required);
  • Telecommunications;
  • Central processing and data centre based systems (servers, networks, and hosted applications);
  • Video Teleconferencing systems (multiple domains and/or security classifications);
  • Audio visual systems;
  • Standalone computing systems;
  • Mobile ICT;
  • Gateway and security systems;
  • Office machines;
  • Other systems of Defence; and
  • Other non-Defence systems.

Mobile ICT, video teleconferencing systems and central processing and data centre based systems are inclusions in the new panel that were not on the old Panel.

The RFT specifies that the services encompass “the management and deployment of new and expanded ICT capabilities related to Defence’s ICT capabilities, ICT sustainment activities, and/or support to military operations.  It may also cover decommissioning and decant (relocation) activities relating to extant ICT capabilities.”

Suppliers who are engaged for services under the Panel will be responsible for all facets of the service delivery including “the planning, identification, engagement, monitoring, and acceptance of all activities required to achieve the business need in accordance with the Project Master Schedule”, according to the RFT.

Procurement of ‘central processing and data centre based systems’ is an option listed for the new panel.  In May 2014, Lockheed Martin was announced as the preferred tenderer for the Centralised Processing Bundle of services, which will see the agency’s 280 data centres consolidated into just 14 facilities; 11 domestic and 3 international. The contract award is currently subject to a Government Second Pass Approval, which is scheduled to be announced in Q1 of 2014-15.

It is therefore likely that it is ICT systems that need to operate in a centralised processing environment that will be procured under the new panel, as well as any attendant systems integration services, (as opposed to services related directly to the management of the centralised processing environment, which is Lockheed Martin’s remit).

The Centralised Processing Bundle is one of three tranches of IT infrastructure outsourcing planned at Defence as part of the agency’s Strategic Reform Program which aims to deliver $1.9 billion in savings through ICT reforms.

In April 2013, Defence signed a $1.1 billion contract with Telstra for its Terrestrial Communications bundle. Procurement of the Distributed Computing bundle was deferred in January 2014 when Defence announced that it would not be proceeding with a planned approach to market due to its existing ICT project load.



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