The Army’s new “as a service” approach to address its lagging enterprise information technology (IT) modernization will include 15 prototype projects across its installations, starting with with three pilot programs in 2019 and another five in 2020, according to a new notice.

Officials released a Request for Information on Thursday detailing initial requirements for the Army’s new “Enterprise IT as a Service” (EITaaS) model, which will shift its modernization focus toward industry bringing in contractor owned and operated IT.

1st Lt. John R. Rogers, 642nd Regional Support Group, takes part in virtual convoy training on Feb. 24, 2018, at his unit’s headquarters in Decatur, Ga. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Gary A. Witte)

“The Army has 288 bases and other operating locations throughout the world, each with unique hardware configurations, data strategies and application architectures. Due to these inconsistencies, the management and availability of data, hardware and applications has become less effective for the user as well as inefficient and expensive,” officials wrote in the RFI. “The standard acquisition model of buying hardware/software has hindered agility and has made integration, maintenance, and operations between hardware, data and applications extremely difficult to manage.”

Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, the Army chief information officer, detailed the new “as a service” effort in March, which he described as “fundamentally different approach” to be rolled out over the next 12 to 24 months to more rapidly upgrade the service’s enterprise technology (Defense Daily, March 5).

The 15 prototype programs will start with three pilot programs in FY ’19, including implementing services at the Futures Command headquarters in Austin, Texas, followed by programs five bases in FY ’20 to validate the scalability of the “as a service” approach.

“By assessing alternative IT acquisition and delivery methods for selected on-premise, government-operated IT services and operations, the Army can determine the most effective way to deliver a reliable, resilient, and secure network,” officials wrote.

Current plans for EITaaS are set to follow three lines of effort, “Network as a Service” for Wide Area Network and communication services, “End User Services” for Army enterprise devices and “Compute and Store” for data analytics and application hosting.

“The EITaaS pilot will assess feasibility and deploy commercial solutions for data transport, end-user device provision, and cloud services for selected Army installations,” officials wrote.