05

Dec '23

Army asks industry for best acquisition approach for Vantage data … – Breaking Defense

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Sgt. Victor Sanchez operates an advanced field artillery tactical data system to calculate aiming data to relay to the howitzer teams during an air assault artillery raid on Fort Drum, N.Y. (US Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Alexander Rector)
WASHINGTON — The Army is asking industry to help shape its acquisition approach and capability requirements as it re-competes its largest data analytics platform used across the entire service enterprise. 
“As part of Army modernization, the Army needs to increase the speed and quality of decision at echelon,” according to a capabilities requirements document posted on Nov. 30. “The right data at the right time is a key enabler for improving decisions … Ease of use at echelon is critical to enable citizen analysts and the data democracy to meet the scale and speed necessary for relevance of our today and future Army.”
Army Data Platform 2.0 is intended to replace Vantage, the service’s current three-year-old data platform, and “will provide analytics environments, tools, and services to federated communities across the Army enterprise with the scalability and speed that current Army capabilities cannot provide,” according to a request for information posted alongside the capabilities document.
The RFI states the data platform “is a core component of the Army’s efforts to become a Data Centric force and supports the Implementation of the Army Digital Transformation Strategy goal of using data as a strategic asset” and will create a data layer that is “available for any vendor technology.”
ADP 2.0 is part of the service’s larger data ecosystem referred to as the data mesh. According to the capabilities requirements document, the data mesh effort has four key focus areas: “Data Ownership by domain; Data as a Product; Data available everywhere, Self-Serve; and Federated Governance.” 
“As a component of the Data Mesh, the data platform provides enterprise compute and store to build, run, and monitor data products,” the document says. “It is the engine for producing data products to meet mission, giving users the ability to create and use conforming data products without needing detailed understanding of the federated mesh governance policies … The platform is the strategic enabler for data products and mission.”
In January, Army Under Secretary Gabe Camarillo said the Army was moving away from a single-vendor approach the service has used in the past and was planning to award multiple vendors a spot for the re-compete. The effort has been powered by Palantir’s software since December 2019, when the Army awarded the company a production agreement worth up to $458 million. 
At the time, some specific use cases Camarillo noted included “unliquidated obligations in our audit efforts” and helping with logistics and supply chain issues. 
“So it is, you know, the part of the work that involves developing a data platform, working with the specific Army users to ingest unstructured and structured data that’s in legacy systems into a new visualization platform, and then developing it in a way that can work,” he said then. “That’s what Vantage does.”
According to the RFI, the service is planning to use a phased approach to the acquisition of ADP 2.0 and award a multi-vendor indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for the effort. The Army is asking industry to provide information on how the service can operate under a contract where the platform and tools are vendor agnostic, can incorporate emerging technologies and what type of contract mechanism would provide the most flexibility for the service to achieve ADP 2.0.
The Army has laid out two high-level problems it wants to address with ADP 2.0, including the ability to access all data and to better acquire and integrate data that already exists. The RFI also includes two high-level objective needs, including the Army needing to be able to operate at all echelons at the speed of war and “make a fundamental shift in how leaders at echelon access and use information,” according to the capabilities requirements document.
Industry vendors have until January 15, 2024 to respond to the RFI. 
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