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WESS Recognizes the 50th Anniversary of the Washington-Moscow Hotline

By Craig Powderly, DCATS Plans and Operations

The image above shows the Hotline terminal room of the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon in July 1976.
The image above shows the Hotline terminal room of the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon in July 1976.

COL Clyde Richards, PM DCATS, and Mr. Stephen McClintock, Deputy Product Manager, Wideband Enterprise Satellite Systems (PdM WESS), attended a ceremony on Aug. 29 marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Washington-Moscow Hotline.

The ceremony featured-high profile speakers from both countries and was conducted at the Earth Station at Fort Detrick, Md., which is an integral part of this historic Direct Communications Link (DCL) between the U.S. and Soviet governments.

The communications link was initially established via undersea cable in 1963 to avoid breakdowns in communications such as those that occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The two nations shifted to satellite technology in the early 1970s. Fort Detrick joined the system in 1978 as a U.S. communications ground station supporting the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center (NRRC) communications for the U.S. State Department.

The image above was taken at the event of the 50th anniversary of the Hotline on Aug. 26, 2013, and shows what it looks like today.

“The Fort Detrick Earth Station provides U.S., Russian and other former Soviet world leaders with a format for communicating during times of crisis. This was most evident during recent times of crisis like September 11,” said COL Richards. “Prior to the hotline, the two super powers communicated via mail or teletype through official channels.

Predecessor organizations to DCATS and WESS were involved in the initial acquisition of commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) technology for the DCL. That system has since expanded to include direct links not only with Moscow but with the capitals of several former Soviet bloc countries, including Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine, in order to track nuclear missile technology.

Today, WESS is responsible for acquiring and sustaining SATCOM terminals and their baseband equipment, both in the U.S. and at these overseas NRRC locations. “In fact,” noted Mr. McClintock, who has worked with U.S. SATCOM since 1987, “we have just begun planning for a system-wide 2016/2017 modernization campaign at the Fort Detrick Earth Station, which is going to be the next step in this ongoing story.”

The image above was taken at the event of the 50th anniversary of the Hotline on Aug. 26, 2013, and shows what it looks like today.

Posted October 25, 2013

New Army T-11 Parachute Uses AMIS’ pRFID Technology

By Beth Alltop, AMIS Strategic Communications

MAJ Ryan Leonard jumps with the Army’s T-11 parachute that uses AMIS’ pRFID capabilities.
Photo by Mr. Bryan Keys, AMIS Program Management Support Specialist​
MAJ Ryan Leonard jumps with the Army’s T-11 parachute that uses AMIS’ pRFID capabilities.

It was no surprise when the 82nd Sustainment Brigade’s 11th Quartermaster Company asked the Assistant Product Director, Automated Movement and Identification Solutions (AMIS), MAJ Ryan Leonard, to jump using the Army’s new T-11 parachutes. After all, AMIS provides the enhanced Parachute Tracking System (ePTS), a pilot program that automates the management and tracking of all T-11 parachutes for the 11th Quartermaster Company via passive radio frequency identification (pRFID) technology.

After much anticipation, the day came for the tailgate jump out of a C-130 aircraft to test ePTS. On July 25, MAJ Leonard met with the 11th Quartermaster Company and the Air Force’s Special Operations team at Fort Bragg, N.C. “I had not jumped in 14 years,” said MAJ Leonard. “Fortunately, I got the chance to work with a high-speed 82nd Airborne Division Jumpmaster, and he retrained me on basic jump operations as well as the operational details of the T-11 parachute. It was a great chance to get back in the field, work with Soldiers, and see how the acquisition process touches their day-to-day operations, and in this case, with ePTS.”

This opportunity allowed AMIS the ability to demonstrate confidence in ePTS by using the technology in the field with our customers. It also exhibited one of AMIS’ main objectives of leading from the front and backing our mission to support Soldiers while exceeding their expectations.

Posted October 22, 2013

DoD Establishes Enterprise Agreement for Commercial Cloud Services

By PEO EIS Public Affairs

The Army has established two Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA) to provide email, collaboration, information sharing and mobile access through commercial cloud services. The BPAs are intended for use by organizations unable to participate in Defense Enterprise Email (DEE), including portions of the Army Recruiting Command and the Army Corps of Engineers. Through the agreements, Dell Federal Systems, LP, will provide a solution based on Microsoft Office 365, and DLT Solutions, LLC, will provide a Google Apps for Government solution. The agreements also provide users with document storage, enterprise content management and unified capabilities.  There is also an option for records management and digitally signed and encrypted email.

Led by the Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) program office within the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS), the agreements were competed against the existing General Services Administration (GSA) Email as a Service (EaaS) agreements. The competition enables the Army to build on the past efforts of GSA, enhancing terms and unique Department of Defense (DOD) security requirements, while maximizing the buying power of the DOD for current and future requirements. The agreements were developed in coordination with the Army Chief Information Officer (CIO/G-6) and DOD Enterprise Software Initiative, and will maintain identity management as a government function, leveraging the existing Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) solution.

The award of the base agreement and initial order is the first critical step toward meeting the DOD Cloud Computing Strategy goal of using commercial cloud services in the Department's multi-provider enterprise cloud environment. The contract has a one year base period with four one-year options. Additional information about the agreements will be published on the CHESS website ( as it becomes available.

Press contact:
Ms. Ellyn Kocher
PEO EIS Public Affairs
(703) 806-3156

Posted October 21, 2013

Project Director Enterprise Services Announces Realignment of Enterprise Capabilities

By Douglas Haskin, Deputy Project Director, Enterprise Services

FORT BELVOIR, Va. – The Project Director Enterprise Services (PD ES) announced a major reorganization on Oct. 1, 2013, bringing together three Product Director offices critical to the Army’s network modernization efforts . The new Project Directorate will include Acquisition Logistics and Technology Enterprise Systems and Services (ALTESS), Enterprise Content Collaboration and Messaging (EC2M) and Enterprise Computing (EC). PD ES will oversee the activities of the three Product offices as a part of the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) family of programs.

“This reorganization is part of an initiative to increase overall efficiencies and better align resources around the many Army enterprise service projects and initiatives that PD ES supports,” said Mr. Jeremy Hiers, Project Director for ES.

The realignment of enterprise functions and renaming of organizations consists of:

  • Mr. John P. Howell, who presently leads the PD Enterprise Email (EE) organization, will assume duties as PD EC2M and manage four acquisition initiatives: Army Knowledge Online (AKO), Enterprise Content Management and Collaboration Services, EE and Unified Capabilities. This structure will better synchronize services as the Army replaces current capabilities with newer technologies and additional capabilities.
  • Dr. Kenneth H. Fritzsche, who presently leads the PD AKO organization, will assume duties as PD EC and manage three acquisition initiatives: the Army Data Center Consolidation Plan, Cloud initiatives and the Army Enterprise Service Desk.
  • Mr. Rich Eva will continue to lead PD ALTESS, providing hosting solutions and services for owners of enterprise applications to the Army’s acquisition community and many other Department of Defense customers.

The enterprise services programs equip the Army with a comprehensive, integrated program management function focused on planning, coordination and management of critical IT services for the Army community. Key program objectives include reducing the complexity and costs of enterprise services, seamless integration of products and solutions, transition planning and migration, and enhancing performance monitoring and management capabilities – all with a focus on ensuring a positive end-user experience.

Posted October 10, 2013