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Alternatives for Connecting Remote Department of Defense Facilities to the Global Information Grid

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The Global Information Grid is the communications network that connects Department of Defense DoD facilities worldwide. Although it is in daily use, its content continues to evolve. The Defense Information Systems Agency DISA is implementing an initiative called the Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion GIG-BE to increase the bandwidth available to DoD users. The initiative is also intended to move DoD from a network backbone owned by a contractor to one owned by the government the GIG-BE. In addition, the contract that had connected many remote DoD facilities those not on the backbone to the network expired in February, and DISA is in the process of replacing it and other, similar contracts with the Defense Information System Network Access Transport Services or DATS contract, which will connect remote defense installations in the continental United States to the GIG-BE. Under the DATS contract, DISA envisions using short-term leases of three years, followed by seven one-year options to obtain the circuits necessary to connect remote sites to the network. Alternatively, DISA could acquire those circuits by using indefeasible rights of use IRUs. Leases require periodic payments for the right to use circuits that are provided by private companies. IRUs, by contrast, involve a one-time payment at the beginning of the term for unlimited use of a circuit. The most common term for IRUs is 20 years because that is also the expected useful life of a circuit, IRUs are considered purchases. Members of Congress have expressed concern about DISAs approach to acquiring network access for remote DoD facilities through the DATS contract. The Congress directed the Congressional Budget Office CBO to review DISAs analysis of alternatives and its underlying assumptions.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

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