MoD plots £200m IT engagement to provide ‘significant advantages in modern warfighting’

The ministry is looking to engage with suppliers ahead of launching a potential procurement exercise for a technology provider – that will also serve as a mission partner on the frontline

The Ministry of Defence is planning a £200m commercial engagement to cover the provision of IT services to a varied based of military and civilian users, many of whom are operating at highly classified levels and in the context of a “modern warfighting environment”.

The ministry has launched a market engagement exercise seeking to engage with potential suppliers for an “IT enterprise service model” (ESM) commercial agreement. The contract in question relates to a “requirement for support to a MoD specialist user with operational demands that span the broadest and most complex requirements”, according to a freshly published commercial notice

Such requirements include the use of technology on the battlefield – which means that tech suppliers are also, in effect, military mission partners.

“This [engagement] requires the ability to utilise, integrate, and operate technologies that provide significant advantages in the modern warfighting environment against all adversaries,” the notice added. “The nature of this competitive edge requires industry partners to operate as part of a federated joint mission partner approach to maximise the effectiveness of the whole force, where technical risk is managed at the highest level.”

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This means that the enterprise IT offering being sought will be designated as a classified environment. The provider will also need to deliver their services around the world.

“Operating in the SECRET Domain, the service will predominantly be UK based, but will operate globally,” the notice said. “This creates opportunities for a combined problem centric approach to solving challenges at pace, experimenting with innovative solutions, as well as traditional support requirements.”

It added: “The vision for ESM is the users of the service will become the central focus looking beyond the technical solutions and stove piped approaches. The intent is to design a solution fit for future adoption and expansion allowing other customer capabilities to be delivered through this model.”

The service will ultimately be overseen by the MoD’s Special Projects Information Systems and Networks unit. This team is “adopting agile working practices and moving towards an ESM, as well as moving towards consuming services”, according to the ministry.

“The main aims are to deliver collaborative working across partners, to drive improvements across user experience and efficiency across the enterprise,” the notice said. “Given the challenges increasingly faced by defence, with the need for agility and pace, a change in the way services are procured, delivered, and managed must be considered as a core element of capability. This market engagement event is an opportunity for the authority to engage early with suppliers on emerging requirements for an IT ESM and our procurement approach.”

Ahead of undertaking a formal procurement exercise, the MoD is planning to host an ‘industry day’ in which it will engage with possible suppliers on either 11 or 12 June. Companies interested in taking part are asked to respond and express their interest by 17 May.

Sam Trendall

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