WASHINGTON —  The U.S. Army is interested in buying satellite-based communications services to improve the performance of its logistics system.

A request for information was published Oct. 14 by the Army’s program office for tactical communications based at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Submissions are due Nov. 6.

“The Army is conducting market research to better understand how commercially managed satellite communications services might support its logistics network modernization efforts, known as Sustainment Tactical Network,” a spokesman said in a statement. 

The Sustainment Tactical Network administers data for all logistics operations across the Army, including the transportation of supplies and personnel, as well as medical records. 

Army buyers want to “better understand existing industry best practices, technological advancements, and innovative business models that could enable the replacement of the current logistics network operating design,” said the statement.

The Army would like vendors to propose “inventive approaches to meet our logistics transport capabilities needs,” said Col. Shane Taylor, the Army’s project manager for tactical network. Buyers also would like to understand satcom leasing options, Taylor said.  

The Army traditionally procures each satcom component separately — hardware, software, commercial satellite bandwidth, maintenance and sustainment support. And each item is put on separate stand-alone contracts. 

Under a satcom-as-a-service contract, all those elements would be consolidated into a simple payment structure based, for example, on the number of leased small ground satellite terminals.

“The RFI will inform decisions on whether or not the program could move forward and assess a satcom as a service alternative business model,” the spokesman said.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...