Written by Brandi Vincent
The Department of Defense and the Air Force recently approved more than two dozen companies to compete for opportunities to deliver capabilities that will ultimately enable the next-generation command and control configuration envisioned by the army.
Last week, the department awarded 27 companies, nine of which are based in Virginia, spots under a multi-award contract for capabilities in multiple domains to enable joint command and control of all domains. (JADC2).
In the past, each of the US military services produced and relied on its own tactical network that was not broadly compatible with those of other services – but JADC2 is the Pentagon’s modern concept for changing that. Through JADC2, the DOD aims to connect sensors and shooters across all military services and enable faster data sharing to improve decision-making on a single network as the conflict landscape evolves.
The 27 companies are the latest in a growing group to be selected for the Air Force‘s Advanced Combat Management System (ABMS) vehicle, which is intended to underpin this global network to move the information and fully implement command and control seamlessly across land, sea, air, space, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum.
“The Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity ABMS is a contractual vehicle established to compete for efforts in seven different categories. The “up to” cap amount of $950 million is established per company, and the minimum order guarantee is met when of the award of a detailed report on the company’s deliverable capabilities,” Air Force spokesman Maj. Joshua Benedetti told FedScoop on Thursday.
Currently, there are 205 companies eligible to compete for work under the broader JADC2 concept – and each only in the specific categories for which they were recruited, Benedetti confirmed.
ABMS is viewed primarily as a family of open-architecture systems that facilitate the operation of capabilities through multiple integrated platforms. Categories where companies were recognized for providing specific solutions include digital architecture, standards and concepts; integration of sensors; Data; secure processing; connectivity; apps; and the integration of effects.
Performance locations will be determined later and work is expected to be completed by the end of May 2025.
Benedetti noted that this new announcement is “not tied to any specific ABMS effort and is not a specific task order for any of the companies.” It will add approved vendors across ABMS IDIQ, he said, and all requirements are competed through the government’s fair opportunity process after the initial order.
“For example, ‘Applications’ is category 5 on the IDIQ, so if there is a need for a new application team, then the Fair Opportunity process would occur for teams on the ABMS IDIQ for the category 5,” Benedetti explained.
This structure is intended to help “streamline the acquisition process”, according to the Pentagon, and to accelerate the maturation of innovative defense technologies.
“After the competition/evaluation period, we can get a work order issued to the company faster, as they are already approved,” added Benedetti. “This type of announcement will happen again in the future as we add more companies to IDIQ.”