A QinetiQ-led consortium has been awarded the Enabling Secure Information Infrastructure (ESII) programme by the UK MOD’s Research Acquisition Organisation (RAO). Won under competitive tender, the initial four tasks are worth in excess of £5m and form the first research packages let under a three-and a half year enabling contract.
The consortium, comprising 23 leading British defence contractors, Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and top British universities, will assist the MOD in maximising its communications capability. As part of the Defence Industrial Strategy and Defence Technology Strategy, this contract will research ideas and technologies to improve the flexibility, efficiency, resilience and security of the MOD’s Communication and Information Services (CIS) systems. The aim is not only to secure MOD’s access to critical technology and techniques, but also to enhance the CIS configuration process, while reducing overhead and delivering more frontline performance.
The first tasks will be to evaluate the benefits of ‘wideband mobile communications’ and ‘policy & infrastructure management’ to support end-to-end voice/data convergence. A spiral development approach using commercial off the shelf (COTS) technologies as well as Command & Information Systems Planning and Traffic Management will allow MOD to incrementally shape and direct the research, adapting to ongoing technological developments across military and commercial systems. The consortium will conduct investigations and experimentation into state-of-the-art Policy Based Management techniques across a network-of-networks, exploring the potential benefits of such a solution and how it might be approved for operational use.
The other two tasks in this first package are looking at an assessment of the security properties of different technologies in a military context and the impact of their use on security policy and to scope future research for the Global Information Infrastructure (GII).
“Bringing together some of the leading experts from industry and academia in communications, space, command and information systems and computer network integrity and security enables the MOD to secure future access to critical technology and techniques,” explained Richard Middleton, QinetiQ’s consortium programme manager for ESII.
Tim Young, QinetiQ’s steering group chairman for ESII added, “The primary objective for the consortium is to maximise the exploitation of the resultant research in order to rapidly transition research studies to front line military operations. The outputs from the initial four tasks will set the direction for future initiatives and demonstrate that collectively the consortium can truly enable the MOD’s vision for a secure information infrastructure and, in turn, network enabled capability.”
The ESII consortium comprises six partners QinetiQ, BAE Systems, BT, EADS, EDS and IBM plus 17 associates. Associate companies comprise LogicaCMG, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola, Rockwell Collins, ITT, SELEX Communications, 3 Way Networks, Invocom, Groupe Intellex and Ultra Electronics with associate universities comprising Imperial College, Glamorgan, St Andrews, Southampton, Surrey and York.