Defence Information Infrastructure
Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) is a secure military network owned by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence MoD. It covers the various branches of the armed forces, including the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force as well as MOD civil servants. It reaches to deployed airbases and ships at sea, but not to aircraft in flight.
The partnership developing DII is called the Atlas Consortium and is made up of HP Enterprise Services (formerly EDS), Fujitsu, Cassidian (formerly EADS Defence & Security) and Logica. Their approach is in essence to leverage Microsoft Windows XP (and future Windows platforms) together with the web browser Internet Explorer to access a VPN.
The intent is to support 2,000 MoD sites with some 150,000 terminals (or end user computers) and 300,000 user accounts. There are likely to be several hundred application programmes available through DII, with the aim of them having consistency in look-and-feel. Terminals may be fixed or mobile in nature. The ability to handle data classified as Secret is fundamental to its design. User logon leads to that user being able to see just the data and applications for which they are authorised. The network is to handle not just alphanumeric data, but also graphics and video. Voice, as in voice over internet protocol VOIP is out of scope and will be handled by a different MoD network. Similarly communication with aircraft is out of scope and is handled by a further collection of networks.
The network was conceived of in a 1998 UK Strategic Defence Review. The Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) formed its Integrated Project Team IPT in October 2000 and ATLAS was selected in March 2005, with contract signing on 21 March 2005.
The contract for Increment 2c, including the Top Secret element of the programme, was signed in January 2009.
Costs and transparency
The project is currently (2010) scheduled to cost at least £7.1bn, however the UK government has said it may attempt to reduce this sum. The Ministry of Defence gave parliament the figure of £2.3bn, even though it knew the cost would be at least £5.8bn. By 2008 the programme was running at least 18 months late; had delivered only 29,000 of a contracted 63,000 terminals; and had delivered none of the contracted Secret capability. In January 2010 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence announced that the Ministry of Defence had authorised DII increment 3a at a cost of around £540 million to provide 42,000 terminals within the RAF and at Joint Helicopter Command. He stated that the project would deliver "benefits" worth over £1.6 billion over the 10 years of the contract.
- http://www.atlasconsortium.info/media/599/joint_buisness_plan_2009.pdf DII Joint Business Plan 2009-2010
- http://www.kable.co.uk/ministry-defence-supplier-payments-foi-request-01dec10 MoD reveals £806m in payments to HP
- http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/0708/the_defence_information_infras.aspx National Audit Office Value for Money Report, July 2008
- http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200910/ldhansrd/text/100119-wms0001.htm Lords Hansard, 19 Jan 2010