Pentagon considering push to software-defined networking

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The Pentagon is focusing in on software-defined networking to further modernize its networks.

The Defense Department’s Joint Service Provider — a relatively new, consolidated arm of the Defense Information Systems Agency that provides IT specifically within the National Capital Region — issued a request for information earlier this month hoping to “improve how JSP can successfully implement a Software Defined Network (SDN) solution and modernize the DoD network.”

“The goal is to simplify, flatten, and optimize the network topology, design, and operations through use of virtualization, routing and orchestration techniques,” the RFI reads. “JSP is intent on dramatically decreasing time to market and operational overhead while increasing network efficiency, sustainability, agility, flexibility, performance, and responsiveness. Additionally, JSP must harden the network against an ever-change threat environment and protect the DoD from state and non-state actors intent on disrupting mission operations and the defense of our nation.”

Software-defined networking harnesses the power of virtualization and automation to allow network service administrators to more effectively and flexibly route traffic loads in an environment, leading to more simplified and agile operations. As the DOD further embraces cloud computing, SDN will make it so the network environment can rapidly adapt as needed to its new, innovative compute instances.

The Joint Service Provider believes SDN may be the answer to these needs, but it acknowledges there may be other options and is open to hearing from industry on what they may be.

Until recently, the DISA-operated JSP was still in its ramp-up period. Because this procurement was launched prior to Oct. 1 — the date JSP became an active field service — the office isn’t conducting the procurement itself, a DISA spokesperson told FedScoop. Rather, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Program Support Center is managing the solicitation. The HHS office is a multi-function shared service provider that offers assisted acquisitions for other agencies on a fee-for-service basis.

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DISA, DOD, Joint Service Provider, Pentagon, software-defined networking