JNMS is planned to provide the military's top brass with a shared view of the network infrastructure being used in a particular military operation. As such, it will manage networks that are strung together at a moment's notice out of radio, satellite, wired and wireless links in far-flung regions of the world. And its users -- military commanders aboard ships, tanks and aircraft -- are among the most mobile.
JNMS is expected to support high-level and detailed network planning, monitoring, reconfiguration, spectrum management and security.
It replaces a 2-year-old interim system dubbed JDIICS-D for Joint Defense Information Infrastructure Control System-Deployed, which provides rudimentary network monitoring and trouble ticketing.
"JNMS will enable the actual network planning and the sharing of plans across different headquarters and services," Colon says. "For the first time across the services, we'll have a flexible and scalable network management architecture. We can continue to add modules and capabilities without having to go back to the drawing board."
The common architecture should ease user training, which is a serious problem given the military's transient workforce.
"If we have a common network management capability, as people rotate from one region to another, they don't have to relearn the tools," Colon says.
The JNMS architecture relies heavily on commercial software, and it mandates Internet standards including TCP/IP, SNMP and RMON. These requirements are designed to eliminate interoperability problems between the services and protect the military's investment into the future.
"One of the things that the Army has talked about is developing a flexible, extensible architecture so you can plug and play certain commercial off-the-shelf technology as the system goes forth in its evolution," Logicon's Amen says.
Does AT&T have a leg up?
Indeed, the AT&T team hopes the experience managing its telecommunications network will give it a leg up on the competition.
"The solution that we offered up to the Army is heavily influenced by what AT&T does in the commercial marketplace," says Jerry Garretson, who directs military communications programs at GRC International, an AT&T company. "But instead of leasing services as we would in the commercial world, we'll build a system and sell it to the military."
The Army will award two JNMS contracts: one each for software development and training and support. Both contracts last for one year, with six one-year extensions. The software contract includes options for the Army to buy hardware, including network management servers and clients.