The Ministry of Defence is looking for vendors to provide their thinking on what the department describes as “in-service support service management” for its so-called “New Style of IT” (NSoIT) programme.
The input will drive the creation of a fixed, two-year NSoIT(D) service management contract which is due to be fully operational in April 2017.
The MoD says it is seeking additional information from the industry to assist in confirming the viability of procuring the service, understanding the challenges associated with the procurement and identifying options for addressing the challenges.
In its call for information, the MoD explained on its thinking on the NSoIT(D) programme and needs for service management.
It said, “In the modern world, deployed UK forces use complex information systems to give them the ability to command, control and communicate with allies. The United Kingdom seldom, if ever, deploys on operations in isolation from coalition partners, so it needs a system able to operate with them.
“The set of nations with which we may be operating is subject to change typically in three different scenarios: from one deployment to the next; as a deployment develops over time; or within a given deployment, where the UK wishes to share information with two or more different sets of partners at the same time. The ability to choose who to share information with and when using just one system is what is known as a “Mission Configurable” Information System.
Describing the NSoIT(D) system, the MoD said, “it will be the MoD designed and owned deployable communications and information system for UK and multinational military missions. The system of systems will eventually provide services in the security domains SUKEO (Red), MISSION SECRET (Blue) and OFFICIAL (Black), but was primarily developed with a design to work at MISSION SECRET; this was under the JACKDAW and MAGPIE projects which will converge into NSOIT(D) programme within the life of this contract.”
The MoD suggested that the three main elements to the system are cloud, deployed points of presence (PoPs), and user access devices (UADs).
Discussing the points of presence, it said, “PoPs are locations where JACKDAW and MAGPIE is deployed. They may be as small as a laptop or as big as a Hub, and may contain more than one physical server depending upon the user requirements. However, they have the important distinction that they are hardware chosen for the role in which they are used.
“For example, a rapidly deployable Operation Liaison Reconnaissance Team (OLRT) may wish to operate on the JACKDAW system but could not take a full datacentre because it is too big to carry; they may take a laptop with a BGAN (mini satellite dish) and operate on JACKDAW or MAGPIE albeit with less services than their counterpart on a larger server. Ships or manoeuvre formations may have certain size, weight and power (SWaP) constraints unique to the environment in which they operate, but also need to utilise the JACKDAW and MAGPIE systems.
“However, the point is that the system is still provided through JACKDAW and MAGPIE. The data bearer (for example a SATCOM link, a WAN Internet connection, or any other) is one of opportunity; implicit in this is the key design activity of ensuring JACKDAW and MAGPIE builds can operate on many different bearer networks.”
The MoD indicated that service management of the system is provided jointly by MoD personnel, including civil servants and service personnel, as well as a contracted Managed Service Provider (MSP). It uses the ISS Target Supply Chain Service Integration and Management (SIAM) processes which is based on the ITIL framework as a basis for service management activity, complimented by MoD policy and procedure. ”
The MoD indicated that the MSP will be responsible for facilitating much of the NSoIT(D) supply chain, with facilities to store MoD assets held at varying levels of readiness ideally up to IL5 security classification, and coordinate their onward distribution into the Joint Supply Chain.
In its documentation, the MoD also asked a series of technical, operational and security and commercial questions of potential suppliers, such as
- Does industry have the capability, capacity and the right team to deliver within the context of the requirement stated?
- Are there any barriers to providing the MoD with information related to the operation of in-service support, incidents, service logs, reports?
- What are the key risks and dependencies to delivering the in-service support management service within the desired timescales? Could the service output be delivered in reduced timescales?
- Does industry have the requisite security accreditation and clearance to be able to deliver in-service support service management to the MoD?
- The MoD has a number of options for commercial constructs. These range from the simple purchase of individual systems and a support package, to potentially more sophisticated options, including Contracting for Availability (CfA). What is the preferred commercial construct and what are the benefits?