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WIN-T Program Developments

The draft WIN-T Operational Requirements Document (ORD) dated 18 June 1999 [under Solicitation Number DAAB07-99-R-F401] changed the title from Warfighter Information Network - Terrestrial (WIN-T) System to Warfighter Information Network - Tactical (WIN-T). This reflected a holistic approach to documenting requirments by including network management and information assurance requirements together with the network infrastructure in one ORD. The draft ORD also addressed the requirement for a network solution that supported users at all classification levels.

Almost exactly one decade after Desert Storm, a Joint Requirements Operational Concept (JROC) established a new program of record to move tactical communications into the realm of net-centric communications. This program was entitled Warfighter Information Network, Tactical or WIN-T. It emerged as the Army embarked on the Chief of Staff's Transformation Roadmap under the DoD communications architecture umbrella known as the Global Information Grid (GIG). WIN-T would take full advantage of emerging network technologies and provide voice, video, and data for the warfighter.

Although WIN-T was not the only program of record to pursue new network technologies, it was emblematic of the constraints that were placed on such programs by the acquisition process. Such constraints, although based on the laudable principles of congressional oversight and competitive bidding, could cripple efforts to shorten "capability cycle times." From its onset, the WIN-T program proposed a traditional acquisition strategy, despite the fact that briefings to the Army proclaimed that the MSE/TRI-TAC family of equipment was inadequate for both the present (circa 1998) and the future. The traditional acquisition strategy of WIN-T was a decade-plus acquisition plan.

Project managers normally remained on their respective projects for only three to four years, virtually guaranteeing that the manager who starts a project would not be the same person who manages the fielding, or even two successive milestone reviews. Furthermore, milestone reviews too often "slip to the right" in time, as the project goes through a series of budget cuts or reprogramming. Sadly, such slippage and cuts were near-certain expectations for the program. To be sure, WIN-T, in spite of its vision for rapid advanced technology insertion, was no exception to the normal capability cycle times that were built into the acquisition life cycle process for weapons systems hardware platforms.

Hardware platforms indeed incorporated new technologies, such as in metallurgy, hydraulics, and power systems, but such advances lagged the information technology (IT) capability cycle times, as reflected in commercial off-the-shelf products. Growth in IT capability was said to cycle nearly five times in a decade. Therefore, the IT capability cycle time was defined at that time as equal to two years (10 years divided by 5 cycles equals 2 years per cycle). Accelerated growth on the S-curve would cause cycle times to be even shorter in the future. Spending ten years to field a system that would be "obsolete on arrival" was tantamount to programming failure in the next war.

In August 2002, two separate competitive contracts were awarded to General Dynamics Government Systems Corporation and Lockheed Martin Mission Systems to perform Pre-Milestone B efforts, which included system engineering tasks, program management tasks and engineering services necessary to conduct initial requirements analyses and generate network architecture designs. At the time, the plan was that each contractor team would demonstrate its design in a separate early user test and experimentation event in third quarter FY05. A single contractor team was to be selected in the first quarter FY06 to enter a three year low-rate production phase followed by the IOT&E in first quarter FY09. The full-rate production decision was scheduled for third quarter FY09.

The Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) approved entrance as a Milestone (MS) B Program and the initial WIN-T Acquisition Strategy on 28 July 2003. The 30 July 2003, Milestone B Defense Acquisition Board approved entry of the WIN-T program into the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) Phase, resulting in the contract SDD option awards to further develop the architecture, produce prototypes, conduct modeling and simulation, and support a Development Test/Operational Test in first quarter FY06.

On 10 September 2004, the Defense Acquisition Executive authorized a revised acquisition approach for the WIN-T program. The new approach combined the two contractors into a single team with General Dynamics as the prime and Lockheed Martin as a major subcontractor. Formal direction to start work on the combined approach was sent to both contractors on 15 September 2004. The Lockheed Martin contract was terminated for convenience on 26 September 2004. An amendment to the Acquisition Strategy was developed and approved by the Army Acquisition Executive.

Since MS B, the structure of the Army changed requiring the WIN-T architecture to change as well. Consequently, the FY07 President's Budget resulted in near term Procurement funding being removed from FY06 thru FY09 and Research Development Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) funding was increased to levels that exceeded the Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) threshold. Concurrently, the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) received direction to initiate a Capability Development Document (CDD) versus a Capability Production Document (CPD). These factors combined led PM WIN-T to initiate and submit a Program Deviation Report (PDR) on 7 October 2005. The PDR identified a breach to two key milestones, the Critical Design Review (CDR) and the Milestone C Decision Review, as well as a potential RDT&E cost threshold breach due to a schedule extension and additional form, fit, and function requirements directed from FCS requirements allocation.

In July 2006, the WIN-T schedule slipped five years from initial operational capability (IOC) fielding in 2008 to an IOC in 2013. A change in the law, Title 10 United States Code 2433, required the program to refer back to the original APB to determine the cost growth for Program Acquisition Unit Cost (PAUC) and the Average Procurement Unit Cost (APUC). A Defense Acquisition Board in Process Review (DAB IPR) was held on 21 September 2006.

The Government attained approval on a Class Justification & Approval (J&A) based on one responsible source and issued a Sole Source Request for Proposal (RFP) for five years continuation of the RDT&E portion of the Phase 3 SDD contract on 19 March 2007. The Phase 3 SDD contract was awarded on 29 June 2007 to a combined contract team with General Dynamics as the prime contractor and Lockheed Martin the major subcontractor. Increment 2 SDD was implemented as within scope change to the Phase 3 contract and incorporated by modification on 14 August 2007. The Senate Armed Services Committee completed its annual markup of the FY07 National Defense Authorization bill in May 2006. The Committee added $100.0 million for procurement of the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) to accelerate fielding to 2008, reduced the Joint Network Node procurement $100.0 million due to program execution, and included a provision that limited funding for the Joint Network Node program until the Army provided a plan on the convergence of the Joint Network Node, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, and Mounted Battle Command on the Move programs.

The provision read: "Of the amount authorized to be appropriated by section 101(5) for other procurement for the Army and available for purposes of the procurement of the Joint Network Node, not more than 50 percent of such amount may be available for such purposes until the Secretary of the Army submits to the congressional defense committees a report on the strategy of the Army for the convergence of the Joint Network Node, the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, and the Mounted Battle Command On-the-Move communications programs."

On January 23, 2007 a second Program Deviation Report (PDR) was submitted to announce the breaches to PAUC and APUC. In March 2007, the Government Accountability Office reported that WIN-T was being restructured to meet emerging FCS requirements and a shift in the Army's funding priorities. The proposed restructuring would provide the program with more time to complete system development. WIN-T entered system development in August 2003 with 3 of its 12 critical technologies nearing maturity. According to the Army, a November 2005 developmental test/operational test demonstrated all of WIN-T's critical technologies in relevant environments. In August, the Army completed a revised technology readiness assessment that supported the WIN-T program office's position. However, the Office of the Secretary of Defense did not fully concur with this assessment.

The March 2006 system assessment, prepared by the Army Test and Evaluation Command, concluded that a WIN-T prototype demonstrated the potential to provide communications both "on the move" and "at the halt" in a limited network. According to the WIN-T program office and other Army representatives, this test event demonstrated the viability of the WIN-T system architecture and progress in maturing WIN-T's critical technologies. However, this test was said to be limited in scope, and the system assessment report did not explicitly address the extent to which WIN-T's critical technologies had matured. In late August, to support WIN-T's restructuring, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology submitted a revised Technology Readiness Assessment to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, concurring that WIN-T's critical technologies had been demonstrated in a relevant environment. The Office of the Secretary of Defense's Director of Defense Research and Engineering did not concur with the Army's assessment for two of these technologies. In order to gain the Director's concurrence, the WIN-T program office was updating data as of March 2007 to reaffirm its ratings for WIN-T's critical technologies and was submitting plans to achieve full technology maturity by the start of production.

The GAO also reported that Army had taken action to synchronize its FCS networking needs and WIN-T's planned capabilities, largely by restructuring the WIN-T program. The FCS program office led the Army's development of a study that examined ways to better synchronize the Army's communications programs, including WIN-T and FCS. The study concluded that the WIN-T program needed to make significant changes to both the hardware and software items it planned to deliver to FCS. For example, the size, weight, and power of the WIN-T elements that were needed to support FCS platforms had to be reduced significantly. These requirements were not part of the original WIN-T program, and, according to WIN-T program office representatives, additional time and funding would be required to address these new requirements. During this time, the Army was also looking for ways to address shortfalls in funding for high-priority items needed to support the Global War on Terrorism. To fund these shortfalls, the Army proposed cutting $655 million from WIN-T for FY07 through FY11, which DoD approved. Recognizing that WIN-T could no longer be executed within its established costs and schedule, the Army determined that the program needed to be restructured.

The Army's proposed restructuring of WIN-T would extend the program's development for about 5 years, and thereby delay the production decision from 2006 until 2011. DOD intended to complete a program review in the third quarter of FY07 for which the Army was required to prepare a revised acquisition strategy, cost estimate, and technology assessment. On 6 November 2006, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council approved the WIN-T Capability Development Document.

The Defense Acquisition Executive (DAE), through the Nunn-McCurdy certification process, certified a restructured WIN-T program on 5 June 2007. The certification Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) stated that the Army would restructure the WIN-T Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP) to absorb the former Joint Network Node (JNN) Network program. It further stated that the restructured program would consist of four Increments.:

  • Increment 1: Networking at-the-Halt (formerly known as JNN)
    • Increment 1A: Extended Networking at-the-Halt; The former JNN program with Ka military satellite communications capability
    • Increment 1B: Enhanced Networking at-the-Halt; The former JNN Program with Net Centric Waveform and Colorless Core Capability
  • Increment 2: Initial Networking on-the-Move - Research, Development, Test & Engineering (RDT&E) for Soldier Network Extensions (SNEs) and High-capacity Network Radios (HNRs), Tactical Communications Nodes (TCNs), Points of Presence (PoPs) and other associated Configuration Items (CI); Procurement of limited numbers of SNEs, HNRs, TCNs, PoPs and other associated CIs
  • Increment 3: Full Networking on-the-Move; Full mobility to include Future Combat Systems (FCS) support
  • Increment 4: Protected Satellite Communications (SATCOM) on-the-Move Enhanced capability for protected SATCOM through tech insertions from High Capacity Communication Capability (HC3)

In September 2007 the US Army awarded the General Dynamics-Lockheed Martin Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) team contract modifications valued at up to $921 million to continue development of the WIN-T system and to accelerate delivery of WIN-T capabilities to the existing modular force. The $921 million in modifications comprised WIN-T Increment 2 and WIN-T Increment 3. WIN-T Increment 2, valued at $126 million, would deliver an initial on-the-move broadband networking capability using satellite and radio links, with fielding scheduled planned to begin in 2009. Increment 3, valued at $795 million, would continue development of WIN-T components to meet the full range of network capacity, security and fully on-the-move capabilities for the modular force with limited user testing scheduled to begin in 2011. Increment 3 also addressed the size, weight, power and cooling requirements for systems to be hosted in Future Combat Systems vehicles.

WIN-T Increment 4 had not been awarded as of 2007. WIN-T Increment 4 was the last of the developmental program elements and was expected to provide technology insertions to enable enhanced satellite communications protection and greater traffic volume afforded by transformational communications satellites [TSAT].

In September 2007, the Army contracted for 336 Increment 1 nodes, 25 more than the 311 nodes identified as the LRIP quantities in the September 2007 WIN-T Increment 1 Selected Acquisition Report, which was submitted to Congress on 14 November 2007. This would be clarified in future SAR submissions according to a March 2008 GAO assessment.

The Army completed a technology readiness assessment for WIN-T Increment 1 in early 2008. While design stability was evaluated during design reviews, it cannot be assessed using the GAO's methodology because the program office did not produce releasable drawings for the design, which was based upon mature commercial hardware and software products. In October 2007, DoD had approved an acquisition program baseline for Increment 1. The WIN-T overarching acquisition strategy was approved in early January 2008, with the Increment 1 annex to this strategy in final processing as of March 2008.

An acquisition program baseline and 2 had also been approved in October 2007. Establishment of an acquisition program baseline for WIN-T Increment 3, intended to field full networking on-the-move capabilities and to fully support the needs of the Army's FCS, would take place once FCS requirements for WIN-T had been firmly established. A formal agreement between the WIN-T and FCS program managers was expected to be completed later in 2008, in time for the Increment 3 preliminary design review scheduled as of March 2008 for August 2008.




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