Deltek Analysis Reveals a Defense IT Marketplace in Transition

Posted by John Slye on January 11, 2018

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The U.S. Department of Defense’s information technology landscape and marketplace are in the throes of major transition on multiple levels.

The DOD is entering a period of unprecedented transition as it struggles to modernize its IT ecosystem while implementing policy changes that speed technology acquisition. This is one observation within Deltek’ s recent analysis report, Defense IT Priorities and Strategies, 2017-2022, which examines the factors shaping the DOD’s information technology environment, priorities and key investment areas.

Technology, Organization and Acquisition

Modernization of the DOD’s network backbone continues driving the department toward a Joint Information Environment (JIE) that provides a shared and secure transport infrastructure. Meanwhile, increasing pressure and complexity of adversaries is driving DOD’s push to modernize the delivery of new capabilities as rapidly as possible using cloud computing-based platforms, including the enterprise-wide deployment of big data analytics, mobile devices, and machine learning.

Meanwhile, structural changes – driven by growing demands for speed, agility, and efficiency – are re-shaping IT leadership at the department while DOD experiments with alternative acquisition approaches such as Other Transaction Authority (OTA). These and other changes are intended to increase the efficiency of research and development spending on prototyping efforts, affecting investment in unmanned systems, cybersecurity, business systems, health IT, and emerging technologies.

Key findings in our analysis include:

  • Backed by key members of Congress, the DOD’s use of Other Transaction Authority for IT prototyping efforts is set to expand in FY 2018, posing challenges and opportunities for the traditional contractor community.
  • The implementation of Joint Regional Security Stacks in the continental United States is largely complete, shifting the next phase of Joint Information Environment-related work to locations in Europe and the Asia-Pacific Rim.
  • The FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act will politicize IT leadership by requiring the DOD Chief Information Officer to be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Held up appointments could slow or even stall ongoing department-wide initiatives.
  • Rapidly evolving governance, technical infrastructure, and acquisition vehicles suggest that the DOD will have all the major pieces in place by the end of FY 2018 to bolster cloud spending and the use of contractor-owned and operated commercial clouds at DOD facilities.
  • DOD made big strides in FY 2017 integrating big data analytics into the cybersecurity ecosystems of the Military Departments. Initiatives across the DOD supported investments in advanced analytics, both department-wide and on the level of local security stacks.
  • DOD is accelerating the roll-out of enterprise mobility with the expectation that biometric-based multi-factor authentication will be available soon.
  • The demand for emerging technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and software-defined networking is growing, consuming an increasing amount of DOD’s R&D budget. However, traditional contractors may face challenges participating in Other Transaction Authority-driven prototyping efforts for these investments.

All of these factors coalesce to impact DOD’s efforts to weave together the policy innovation and technical capabilities required to support its modernization strategy going forward.

Get the complete analysis by reading the full report: Defense IT Priorities and Strategies, 2017-2022.

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