Pentagon taps EDS for survivable IT program

The Pentagon Tuesday awarded Plano, Texas-based Electronic Data Systems Corp. a contract to develop and install a survivable IT and communications infrastructure capable of withstanding a future terrorist attack on a scale similar to or greater than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The two-year, US$258 million deal falls under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Command Communications Survivability Program (CSSP). The CSSP upgrade is designed to ensure the survivability, redundancy, recoverability and security of Defense Department IT infrastructure. It covers networks, data storage, and voice and messaging systems at the Pentagon and various other U.S. military facilities.

The CCSP program was created in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, which crippled some of the Defense Department’s most important IT and communications systems.

Although the Pentagon was able to communicate orders to deployed military forces on Sept. 11 and the days that followed, the attack severely damaged the U.S. Navy’s Telecommunications Operations Center, sensitive chief of naval operations offices and help desk operations within the U.S. Army’s Information Management Support Center. In addition, the National Military Command Center, where senior defense officials monitor global security developments, was filled with thick smoke as a result of the explosion caused by burning jet fuel.

In a statement Tuesday, EDS said it will employ an Integrated Product Team approach, using proven systems engineering methodology and input from more than a dozen subcontractors. This approach delivers a “low-risk” implementation and offers the Defense Department maximum flexibility to take advantage of new and emerging technologies, according to EDS.

The project partners include Verizon Federal Inc., Northrop Grumman Information Technology, Raytheon Co. and Computer Sciences Corp.

Al Edmonds, president of EDS U.S. Government Solutions and a former three-star general who directed the Defense Information Systems Agency, called the work that his company has been asked to do as part of the CCSP program “vital to our national defense.”