The Army July 20 issued a sources sought notice to industry and government looking for solutions to identified gaps to advance the tactical network and to participate in the May 2013 Network Integration Evaluation (NIE).

The draft Sources Sought notice, issued through the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate, is to identify emerging capabilities to be evaluated against a set of entrance criteria for an opportunity to participate in NIE 13.2 in May, to be held at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

The gaps identified are: commander’s applications for mobile and handheld platform, enhanced Command Post collaboration and visualization, company information architecture, network operations visualized in the Command Post, aerial layer network–Air Ground Integration, integrated employment of LandWarNet installation & training resources and WIN-T interoperable SATCOM and ground-to-ground capability on Heavy Brigade Combat Team maneuver platforms.

Functional requirements for these gaps are listed in the draft Sources Sought on the Federal Business Opportunities website. An updated Sources Sought will be issued in early August.

Industry can use this draft Sources Sought to begin working candidate submissions to support NIE 13.2, which will be held at Fort Bliss and White Sands.

The semi-annual NIE evaluations are designed to continue integrating and maturing the Army’s tactical network and accelerate and improve the way soldiers receive network technologies. The Army is building Capability Set 13, after NIEs this year (Defense Daily, May 25,30).

NIE 13.2 will focus on solidifying the network baseline that will make up the foundation of Capability Set 14, the Army’s second integrated set of network capability, which will be fielded starting in 2014.

“The draft sources sought will give industry an early view of broad based capability gaps as the Army looks to solidify Capability Set 14,” said Kelly Alexander, Project Director Futures, SoSI. “The Army intends to seek industry feedback as we work to finalize capability gap specifics. This collaboration can result in better defined and supportable capability gaps.”

The Army only wants solutions for the identified gaps, and solutions that are at the representative model or prototype system stage and have been tested in a relevant environment.

“Previous Network Integration Evaluations allowed the Army to solidify the network baseline, we are now providing that baseline and the common operating environment to industry to allow them to build their systems and capabilities into the architecture,” said Brig Gen. Dan Hughes, director, SoSI Directorate. “To support Capability Set 14, through the NIE process, we are reaching out to both large and small industry partners to fill hardware and software needs to support the network baseline.”

The Sources Sought notification was announced the day before the Army hosted an NIE/Agile Process Industry Day at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

The more than 225 industry representatives attending had the opportunity to learn more about the Agile Process criteria and the integration and testing process that supports the NIE, review the capability gaps that exist, and outline future NIE participation opportunities, the service said in a statement.

The detailed Sources Sought information can be found on the Federal Business Opportunities website at b7&tab=core&_cview=0