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Battle management working to improve nuclear scenario planning

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AFNS) -- A program that allows national leaders and combatant commanders to plan for deliberate and crisis nuclear scenarios is getting a significant upgrade.

The Integrated Strategic Planning and Analysis Network (ISPAN) provides planning capabilities for U.S. Strategic Command in support of their mission for strategic deterrence and global strike. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Battle Management Directorate, headquartered at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, manages the program here.

There are two subsystems to ISPAN; the Mission Planning and Analysis System (MPAS) and the Global Adaptive Planning Collaborative Information Environment. MPAS is an integrated system comprised of several different software applications that is currently undergoing an extensive modernization effort, referred to as ISPAN Increment 4.

"STRATCOM needs to be able to rapidly conduct operations across a range of conflicts," said George Beck, the ISPAN program manager. "This MPAS effort will dramatically improve the efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness of planning and analysis."

The ISPAN program management office, co-located with STRATCOM at Offutt AFB, previously successfully delivered two high-level Acquisition Category major automated information programs, ISPAN Block 1 and ISPAN Increment 2, so the PMO possesses the experience for Increment 4, he added.

According to program officials, MPAS is the nation's comprehensive system for developing fully executable nuclear plans and options in support of national leaders. Increment 4 improves the system with regard to deliberate planning, responsive crisis action planning for both aircraft and missile and integrated operations.

"Once the modernization is under way and new capabilities delivered, users will find the system processes faster and also that active planning will be improved," Beck said. He added all the current systems that are part of MPAS will be upgraded and some new systems will be added.

One new improvement will be expanded planning. Another subsystem will be data federation - to ensure that whatever type of document or data is required gets to where it needs to go.

In addition, the analysis and quality review systems will be enhanced. Due to the upgrades, sustainment will also become easier and more cost effective.

"Some of the software the current MPAS is using is from the 1980s," Beck said. "By modernizing that to the 21st century, we'll be able to drive down future sustainment costs."

He also mentioned that using more virtualization capabilities will reduce the equipment's physical footprint and increase of the number of potential competitive suppliers.

The program office awarded five single award indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contracts to four contractors: BAE Systems, Leidos, Lockheed-Martin and Northrop Grumman. There is a three-spiral process to the project, and task orders will be awarded for each spiral.

"This is a high-level ACAT I and MAIS (Major Automated Information System) project with OSD as our milestone decision authority," Beck said. "The program office will be the integrator throughout the entire project to ensure these important capabilities are available."

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