The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded a contract to the General Dynamics C4 Systems division in Scottsdale for a nationwide secure wireless communications system for 18 federal law enforcement and security agencies.
The contract for the Integrated Wireless Network program could amount to $5 billion to $10 billion over the next 15 years if all options are exercised, officials said.
General Dynamics and its industry team beat out another team led by Lockheed Martin for the massive project, which is intended to create a system that will provide interoperable wireless voice and data communications among all of the federal agencies as well as state and local law enforcement and rescue agencies.
In addition to the Department of Justice, the system will be used by the Homeland Security and Treasury departments and will include such agencies as the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service.
“Through the program, the IWN partner agencies are committed to achieving effective interoperability among federal law enforcement and homeland security agents as well as between the federal agencies and the state and local agencies with which we partner,” said Vance Hitch, chief information officer for the Department of Justice.
“We understand the critical nature of this assignment and look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Justice and other federal agencies in implementing wireless communications services,” said Chris Marzilli, president of the C4 Systems group.
The GD system will be based on technology the company has been developing for the Coast Guard, Marzilli said.
The timing of the roll out of the network has not yet been determined, but it is likely to be developed region by region, eventually creating a nationwide network, he said.
GD will perform the systems engineering for the project in Scottsdale, a task that will require the company to hire additional engineers and management personnel, he said. The numbers or the timing of the new hires hasn’t been determined, but GD is planning to hold a job fair on 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday positions at its Scottsdale operations, 8201 E. McDowell Rd. , where more information will be available, company officials said.
“This is a significant undertaking, and we will need additional technical and management personnel,” Marzilli said.
Production of the hardware such as antennas and towers will be distributed across the U.S., he said.
Among the subcontractors who will be working with GD on the project will be IBM, Nortel Government Solutions, Verizon Wireless and other divisions within General Dynamics.
Marzilli said the project will build on GD’s experience in developing complex, secure radio-frequency communications systems on a large scale for the U.S. military.