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Hanscom Representatives Association
LEXINGTON, Mass. -- Tom Powis, Program Management organizational senior functional for the C3I and Networks Directorate, briefs members of the Hanscom Representatives Association at Waxy O'Connors March 28. Powis spoke about the directorate’s portfolio and upcoming business opportunities. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Rick Berry)
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C3I and Networks information and opportunities focus of HRA meeting

Posted 4/4/2013   Updated 4/4/2013 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

4/4/2013 - LEXINGTON, Mass. -- An update on the C3I and Networks portfolio, including business opportunities and needed technologies, was the main topic during the Hanscom Representatives Association luncheon meeting March 28 at Waxy O'Connors.

Tom Powis, Program Management organizational senior functional, provided a snapshot of the organization and where he sees it headed for the future.

"We are attempting to build a seamless, secure infrastructure for access to the network," he said. "But we're reinventing in a backwards fashion; stand-alone programs were given to us and we have to weave them together."

Powis mentioned how they are working in the air, space and terrestrial domains and looking to create a system of systems in each.

"We're getting better at crossing domains, too," he said. "Then we need to look at commoditizing."

He said they need to get out of the old ways of doing business and look at moving to commercial-type model and practices, mentioning doing a one-time build that could be available to many users.

An implementation baseline that evolves over time is one way the organization is looking to accomplish this. Currently, the organization is working to codify the one for business systems. Command and control systems will be added next, with other systems being added in the future.

"It's difficult because we don't own what are basically the apps that need to be accommodated - updated and upgraded," Powis said. "We're looking at new ways to share or rent resources and services, whether from DISA [Defense Information Systems Agency] or other commercial providers."

He added that the contracting will be done differently than it has been in the past. He said he doesn't foresee a lot of big requests for proposals; instead it will be done in smaller "bites."

Powis also provided an update on the organization's upcoming business opportunities, highlighting changes that have been made since the New Horizons Symposium at the beginning of March.

One new opportunity is a project for wideband aircraft communication, looking at a way for aircraft to switch between commercial and military satellite communications.

The Cyber Solutions Cell was another area Powis highlighted, saying that they are looking at requests for information and cooperative research and development agreements, and working more proactively with the research labs.

Overall, he said his perspective, from talking to the users, the developers, the researchers in the labs, is that some needed technologies are big data analytics, cyber resilience and advanced cyber capabilities to deal with persistent threats. However, he thinks cyber command and control is where the new technology is most needed.

He sees the future as shifting away from big programs, mentioning how there are many smaller programs within the portfolio, and contracting in different ways.

"This will align us with the Air Force, especially when it comes to sequestration, contracting strategies and implementing BBP [Better Buying Power]."

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