Army Enlists the Help of Silicon Valley Firms

The U.S. Military locked down a few key contracts this week for the sake of its wireless future.

Menlo Park, Calif.-based interWAVE Communications and its primary reseller Cell-Tel Government Systems, were tapped by Uncle Sam to provide three complete GSM systems to military operations.

interWAVE’s wireless solution is incorporated in Cell-Tel’s MilWave GSM system, which recently passed snuff with the General Services Administration Schedule and is now officially U.S. Government and U.S. Military eligible.

Under the terms of the contract with the U.S. Army’s CECOM (Communications-Electronics Command), Cell-Tel will deploy interWAVE’s wireless communications solution at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, Fort Huachuca in Arizona, and Fort Bragg, based in North Carolina.

The cellular GSM systems put in place by Cell-Tel are each centralized in what resembles a suitcase, the company said. This ‘transit case’ is designed for quick and easy set-up and is linkable to satellite, microwave, or wireline interfaces, enabling the Army to deploy a wireless infrastructure anywhere in the world, at any time.

The top selling point is that the interWAVE solution is secure for end-to-end encryption over both the public and private GSM networks.

“The constant threat of terrorism, both domestic and internationally, has increased the need for the military to possess and be prepared to deploy contingency communications infrastructure at a moment’s notice,” said Bill Carlin, interWAVE’s vice president of global operations.

In another U.S. Military score, Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Saba Software, , a maker of learning and development software, disclosed that it too had been tapped to supply software for the Army’s Distributed Learning System (DLS).

Saba’s software suite is an Internet-based platform designed for many different types of professional services and training.

The Army has reserved software licenses for up to 2 million users, the company said, which expire in September 2004. Although it is not yet clear what the Army will use the software for or whether they will even exercise their licenses.

Saba sits on a giant client roster that includes Anheuser-Busch, Ford Motor Company, Continental Airlines, Kaiser Permanente, Alcatel, Telecom Italia, DaimlerChrysler, and Procter & Gamble.

According to a representative from Cell-Tel, the U.S. Military is on track to expand its wireless communication systems throughout the Department of Defense before the end of the year.

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