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Fujitsu and Australia ink defense contract

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Jul 16, 2010
Australia's defense ministry has signed an IT support deal with Fujitsu worth around $133 million.

The 3-year deal will see Fujitsu help consolidate the ministry's disparate IT systems and support services in reaction to the 2009 white paper Strategic Reform Program to modernize the military.

The appointment of Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese global IT firm Fujitsu, is part of the ministry's anticipated $614 million investment to upgrade its information technology, consolidate suppliers and lower operational costs.

Parliamentary Secretary for Defense Support, Mike Kelly, announced the contract for "consolidation and provision of defense's central information and communications technology support services."

The deal comes after a request for tenders for routine operational services in January, followed by negotiations with preferred supplier Fujitsu.

Kelly said that aim is to improve services and reduce complexity and costs.

"Within a few years defense aims to have fewer suppliers of ICT services," he said.

"However, those suppliers who are selected as key strategic partners will have increased responsibility and the opportunity to contribute directly to defense's business outcomes."

The contract comes under the defense white paper, Strategic Reform Program 2009: Delivering Force 2030. The policy document heavily criticized IT support services as well as the ministry's hardware.

The white paper noted that defense information and communications technology support is fragmented. Less than half of the $1.05 billion spent is visible to the chief information officer, resulting in inefficiencies in delivery.

Also, defense has been struggling with aging, under-performing equipment, down to the level of desk-top computers.

"There is an urgent need to address long-term underinvestment in information and communications technology infrastructure that has resulted in a significant proportion of defense assets being beyond their effective life.

"As a consequence, defense is now dealing with an unacceptable level of fragility, cost and risk to ICT operations."

But the efficiency drive will need an investment of around $614 million. This is expected to save $1.67 billion over the next decade and around $220 million a year after that.

The ministry is aiming for what it calls The Defense Information Environment, which will be "one network connecting fixed and deployed locations built on a single set of standards and products."

A typical desktop set up available to all defense sites will be a single screen connected to a wireless network that displays multiple security sessions. Secure voice and video will be available to the desktop in most fixed and deployed locations.

On the military operational front, "deployed commanders and decision makers will have a single view of the battle space through a common operating picture accessing a wide range of data from sensors and sources."

Fujitsu's antipodean subsidiary is believed to be the third largest ICT company in the Australian and New Zealand marketplace.

In October 2004, it bought the Australian arm of Atos Origin, a systems implementation company specializing in SAP.

In October 2007, it acquired Infinity Solutions, a New Zealand IT hardware, services and consultancy company.

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