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News Release


Release No: 483-97
September 15, 1997


The Department of Defense today announced a new initiative to acquire a family of programmable, modular communications systems for all DoD components. The PMCS approach will replace older, hardware intensive radios with software applications for waveform generation and processing, encryption, signal processing and other major communications functions. The PMCS approach will support military operations across the spectrum of environments--from backpacks to ships.

The PMCS program will be operated by a joint Service office, located in the Washington, DC area. Acting Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology) Noel Longuemare has chosen the Army to be the permanent Service Acquisition Executive for the program. The Air Force will provide the first PMCS program manager, a three-year rotational position; the Army and Navy will provide deputy program managers. The Advanced Information Technology Services Office, a Joint Program Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Defense Information Systems Agency, will play a critical role in developing the systems architecture for the PMCS program.

Multiple contractors will be selected to produce the PMCS products using common core software and hardware modules. According to Longuemare, "The PMCS approach represents a model for future DoD technology-intensive acquisitions."

The new program has been spearheaded by key officials of both the Joint Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Lt. Gen. Douglas D. Buchholz, director for Command, Control, Communications and Computers (J-6) of the Joint Staff, led the effort to validate a joint tactical radio -- the military term for a programmable, modular communications system -- through the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. "The JTR presents us with the opportunity to transition to a new paradigm of rapid technology insertion and fielding of communications capability for our warfighters," said Buchholz.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) (C3I) Anthony M. Valletta formed an integrated product team to determine if a family of radios could meet the Services' various operational environments. The IPT, led by Richard M. Dyson, director of Communications, concluded such efforts were feasible, largely as a result of rapid developments in commercial state-of-the-art open systems architecture.

"Only through a partnership with industry," Valletta stated, "can a PMCS open system architecture be developed to meet Service needs and allow use of new technology in the future."

The PMCS program should also have important applications for other federal agencies. The Federal Aviation Agency, for example, intends to use the PMCS results in defining an affordable communications suite for the general aviation community.

The PMCS program office is expected to be established in early Fiscal Year 1998.

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