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Microsoft Businesses Government Networking Software The Military United States

US Military Signs Modernization Deal With Microsoft 228

Posted by Soulskill
from the fly-fighter-jets-with-solid-color-rectangles dept.
Dupple writes with news that Microsoft has signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and the Defense Information Systems Agency to modernize the software those organizations use. According to Microsoft, the deal will cover 75% of all Department of Defense personnel, and bring to them the latest versions of SharePoint, Office, and Windows. The deal awards Microsoft $617 million, which is after discounts to the software totaling in the tens of millions. Interestingly, DISA's senior procurement executive said, "[The agreement] recognizes the shift to mobility. Microsoft is committed to making sure that the technology within the agreement has a mobile-first focus, and we expect to begin to take advantage of Microsoft’s mobile offerings as part of our enterprise mobility ecosystem."
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US Military Signs Modernization Deal With Microsoft

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  • Mobile. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:23PM (#42481277)

    "a mobile-first focus, and we expect to begin to take advantage of Microsoftâ(TM)s mobile offerings as part of our enterprise mobility ecosystem."
    NURSE!

  • Hope it's not windows 8 on the desktop / laptops.

    • by idontgno (624372) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:33PM (#42481443) Journal

      Too bad. It most certainly is:

      As part of this agreement, all three organizations can begin using the newest versions of Microsoft products, including Microsoft Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 Enterprise and Windows 8. The ability to standardize on SharePoint 2013 Enterprise will unlock new levels of cross-agency information sharing through improved enterprise search and social communications features while powering advanced business intelligence and reporting capabilities. Access to Office 2013 will equip each organization with the latest versions of productivity tools that personnel rely on every day, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. The increasingly mobile DoD workforce will also use Windows 8 to empower productivity from any location, and any supported device, while taking advantage of enhanced security. The U.S. Armyâ(TM)s Network Enterprise Technology Command headquartered at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and the Air Force Program Executive Office for Business and Enterprise Systems at Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex in Alabama, have been working closely with Microsoft on achieving Army Golden Master and Air Force Standard Desktop Configuration compliance for Windows 8.

      As the names imply, those two named configurations (Army Golden Master and Air Force Standard Desktop Configuration) are the standard desktop deploy images for the overwhelming majority of the normal day-to-day systems for those respective two services... and they're definitely transitioning to 8. So yaaay. I definitely picked a good time to get the hell out of the service.

      • and how well will that work?? will they be desktop mode most of the time??? What about non metro apps.

        What about the army mac os severs?

        • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Friday January 04, 2013 @07:04PM (#42481933)

          It's easy.

          They'll all be touch screens with custom launches for the military market. Where you and I might see "marketplace" or "social" or "XBox Live", they'll get options like "Attack" "Retreat" and "Leak classified documents to Assange"

          Idiotproof, really.

          • Yeah.

            Pressing "Attack" will signal a retreat
            Pressing "Retreat" will leak classified documents to Assange
            Pressing "Leak classified documents to Assange" will signal everyone to attack you

            Of course, the buttons will be too small and closely placed together for you to be able to accurately select the appropriate one using your finger, so you'll need to carry a stylus with you at all times.

        • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:03PM (#42482857) Homepage

          and how well will that work?? will they be desktop mode most of the time???

          Probably. I know my Windows 8 machine is. It's basically just Windows 7, only it uses fewer resources. Don't believe the people who tell you the Start Screen is some kind of apocalypse. It's easy to ignore. I think it would be a dumb move for the military to sign a deal like this only to stick with Windows 7, actually.

          • by 4pins (858270)

            I have been running Window 8 for nearly a month and I have found the start screen/metro impossible to ignore. The start screen keeps taking over and other metro interface components (most often the charms bar) keep popping up while I am working with classic applications. What am I missing? Is there a setting? Perhaps a script? I am already running a start menu replacement.

            I know I said previously that running it this way was a mistake. However when many people are telling me to try something and many

          • by Esteanil (710082)

            I find the removed/hidden functionality much harder to ignore than the start screen, which I (in fact) almost find myself missing in Win7.

            For instance, wifi has become way more of a bitch than it was in Win7 and access to wifi status (seeing how much data is/has been transmitted, etc) seems to be missing.

            Well, that and the crashes/failures to awake from sleep.

      • Maybe it will be good: A contract this large, they could easily insist that special GPOs be created that allow locking a desktop into desktop-only mode; and possibly (fingers crossed) such a gpo could trickle down to the rest of us.

        • by mlts (1038732) * on Friday January 04, 2013 @07:39PM (#42482441)

          I'm going to be a bit of a devil's advocate:

          There is one good thing about Windows 8 -- Metro apps, or whatever MS calls them now (Microsoft Store Apps.)

          These store their files in a restricted subdirectory in the user's homedir, and run in an extremely limited security context.

          What I want to see is a real Web browser as a Metro app. This way, if the browser or an add-on running under it gets taken over, it can't get to a full user context, much less get control of the machine [1]. Same with an IMAP client. This is not to replace existing MUAs and Web browsers, but a restricted place to browse privately [2] with less exposure possible to malicious software.

          I'm not a fan of workflow with Metro apps, but I do like the security contexts that limit things. It doesn't solve everything, but it is a good tool in a toolbox.

          [1]: Nothing is impossible, but restricted contexts are a good start.

          [2]: Pr0n sites, most likely.

          • These store their files in a restricted subdirectory in the user's homedir, and run in an extremely limited security context.

            Thats the only good thing about them, and theyre so limited that it does me no good. Wonderful that skype cannot root my machine, but its worthless because it can only run full screen.

          • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:05PM (#42482895) Homepage

            What I want to see is a real Web browser as a Metro app.

            Errr, well you know, Windows 8 ships with a Metro flavor of IE 10, and with recent versions of Chrome you can opt to have that run as a Metro app, too. I think Firefox might still be working on it. But there doesn't seem to be anything stopping you from trying one of the others out and seeing how it works for you.

            • by arendjr (673589)

              What I think mlts means to say is he wants a browser that is implemented for Metro itself, not just presents itself there. Neither IE10 nor Chrome runs in the restricted sandbox like Metro apps.

          • by scsirob (246572) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @04:42AM (#42486097)

            The enemy is coming! Shoot! SHOOT!

            "Please log in to your Microsoft Windows Live account to access the 'Shoot' application" ... click-swipe-click-type-swipe...

            "Thank you. There are 6 friends and 17 enemies on-line. There is a new version of 'Shoot' available, do you want to upgrade?"
            Noo! ... click-swipe-click-type-swipe...

            "Please note that your current version of 'Shoot' is no longer supported. The application will be disabled"
            Arrrggh!!.... (*#@)

            Game Over.

          • by PTBarnum (233319)

            This would make email attachments and any other file upload kind of a pain. Before you can open a file in the browser, you have to copy it to your browser's sandbox using an external tool.

    • by nschubach (922175) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:37PM (#42481519) Journal

      It's not Windows 8 I'm concerned with... it's forcing Sharepoint on the Military...

      • by LifesABeach (234436) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:58PM (#42481847)
        I can't help but wonder what the cost of using Open Source Solutions would have been? My main fear will not be some power like China obtaining secrets, but some bored 15 year old.

        I can see the head lines now,
        "Teenager aquires robotic mule and uses it to buy Hamburgers and Milk Shakes in a Prom Limo using him m$ phone."
        • by stenvar (2789879)

          "Teenager aquires robotic mule and uses it to buy Hamburgers and Milk Shakes in a Prom Limo using him m$ phone."

          At least it keeps him out of trouble.

      • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday January 04, 2013 @07:08PM (#42481995)

        There is no problem that Sharepoint cant solve.

        The only concern is all the other problems it creates.

        • by Alex Belits (437) * on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:04PM (#42482867) Homepage

          There is no problem that Sharepoint cant solve.

          "Not enough money is spent on worthless consultants" is a problem that Sharepoint solves just fine.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Maybe you can just throw more Sharepoint at it?

        • by dbIII (701233)
          The worst I see is due to the same approach between MS Sharepoint and MS Exchange - once something goes into the database not much other than a healthy exact copy of the thing configured exactly the same way as the original that put it in there can get it out :(
          They'd better be planning for a lot of redundancy and be prepared to sacrifice a bit of speed. Instead of doing the obvious and pointing to where files are MS Sharepoint sucks the entire things into a database - which gets insane once people start p
      • It's not Windows 8 I'm concerned with... it's forcing Sharepoint on the Military...

        Hey, anything that slows down their drone bombing campaigns is a net win.

      • I do some maintenance for an educational establishment, who have Sharepoint deployed internally for staff use, the last Sharepoint post there was two years ago, they do seem to find use for Moodle ...
      • by Darinbob (1142669) on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:59PM (#42483595)

        I think making someone who is heavily armed work with Sharepoint is not going to end well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It could be worse... iOS 6.0 mapping software on drones. ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      "Hope it's not windows 8 on the desktop / laptops."

      What military in its right mind would opt to choose closed-source, proprietary, and more to the point UNPROVEN software for their day-to-day operations?

      I have had some issues with the military before but I never thought they were actually stupid. This comes pretty close to changing my mind.

      • Never forget that inteligence and stupidity are two separate issues, infact it takes a great deal of intellegence to accomplish exceedingly stupid things.

      • by qwak23 (1862090)

        They only use windows for e-mail and powerpoint, and this is essentially what the article is talking about.

        Everything else is running Unix/Linux or some custom piece of software (depending on the age of the hardware).

    • So... have we been infiltrated by some backward enemy like North Korea, or what? April first is like three months away.
  • by Ardeaem (625311) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:25PM (#42481313)
    ...the US will only be able to make war if they can figure out the Metro interface.
    • by bkmoore (1910118) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:53PM (#42481777)
      so you're saying peace might have a chance after all.
    • They are also aquiring Sharepoint. So any war will probably have a half life of around two years untill all the data is forgoten.

    • On the flip side, Im not sure that fitting all army personnel with Windows 8 / metro is really the best way to engender feelings of peace and goodwill.

  • by sycodon (149926) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:26PM (#42481321)

    Why is my 1034-55/12 Authorization for Nuclear Strike form all garbaged up now?

  • FML (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:28PM (#42481347)
    I work for the dept of defense, and this just makes me cringe. Mobility? That sounds great, except the only electronic devices allowed in cleared spaces are old-skool one-way pagers. And the Army has been looking into getting Android devices for troops. So much for that apparently. The latest OS? They better fucking not load Windows 8 on my desktop. I'd say I would do something drastic, but more likely I'll just cry myself to sleep. And more Sharepoint? We use Sharepoint at work, and everyone hates it. We're currently looking at finding a suitable replacement. I'm going to go get a drink.
    • get them to load one of the 3rd party start menus for 8 if they load it.

      But windows 8 in any big setting with no SP1 and windows 9 on the way soon (that may fix of the windows 8 issues) May end up in testing and by the time testing is done windows 8 may be as dead as ME was.

      • by Synerg1y (2169962)
        Last time I came across a guy with ME was 09, and he was one of those users, who's computer nobody in their sane mind would willingly touch, so there's definitely a nitch for windows 8 user statuses here.
    • Re:FML (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jgrahn (181062) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:38PM (#42481521)

      And more Sharepoint? We use Sharepoint at work, and everyone hates it. We're currently looking at finding a suitable replacement.

      Isn't just about *anything* a suitable replacement for Sharepoint? Where I work it's used as a cruel and unfair parody of a wiki, so MediaWiki is one obvious replacement. Another replacement would be, I guess, a version control system like Git.

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        It's quite funny, I just set up iframes in sharepoint to point to my mediawiki pages. works great.

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)
      The funny thing there is with all the micro and mobile technology circulating around that pager can now be a better spy device than anything 20 years ago.
    • We use Sharepoint at work, and everyone hates it. We're currently looking at finding a suitable replacement. I'm going to go get a drink.

      What I love is this conversation:

      "Hey, where's form WTF-SRSLY-WTF?"

      "It's on SharePoint!"

    • At least here in the Department of Defense, we have so many applications that will have to be tested and certified on any new OS before they install across the board, Win9 and maybe Win10 will be out by that time.

      We never had Vista, and we only switched from XP to Win7 last year.

      I don't expect to see Win8 here... It's not the OS, it's the upgrade path for things that must run on the OS.

    • Recommend Podio from Citrix....
  • Bad Move (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tom229 (1640685)
    Wow... Having just received a demo Surface and ATIV S I'd strongly advise the Army / Airforce to consult a second opinion.
  • by MindPrison (864299) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:35PM (#42481473) Journal
    Welcome to the MS experience - Metro. Shoot to kill in style!

    Instructions:

    To aim and launch missile:
    1) Swipe the screen to bring up the monitor section.
    2) Monitor your target and doubletap on the suspect.
    3) Swipe an "X" across each target you want to eliminate.
    4) Doubletap to confirm.

    If you get an error message: 16472112.13a41d1e.00123dq2.1337effd
    then please contact customer service. Thank you for sharing your Microsoft Experience.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Provided that the call center was not a previous target. Outsourcing, you know...

      ==//==

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)
      And later in the news:

      "A critical bug in a windows 8 application mistook a camera abroad for one used in the ops training center where the machine was located with disastrous consequences. Microsoft issued an apology to those lost & will be patching the bug sometime late next week."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:36PM (#42481489)

    I work for the DoD. I predict this will end up costing 10x as much, take at least 5 years longer than proposed and in the end deliver less than 30% of the functionality actually required. I've seen it happen time and again with only a few of the more egregious failures actually becoming public.

    • I work for the DoD. I predict this will end up costing 10x as much, take at least 5 years longer than proposed and in the end deliver less than 30% of the functionality actually required.

      Thank you for the insider's report! I for one am glad to hear that the results will be so much better than everything else ya'll do.





      :P

  • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:36PM (#42481505)
    Isn't the Navy under the "umbrella" of the Department o' Defense? Strangely, the linked article states that the Navy inked its own contract for $700 million (USA dollars) back in July of 2012 [govconwire.com].
    :>(
    How is that encouraging any sort of good volume pricing or agreements if each division (Military Branch) is negotiating its own separate deal with Microsoft individually. If there's anyone that could screw with the military contracting officers, it's IBM and Microsoft.
    :>)
    Then again, this kind of volume license contract could be what they had to do in order to be able to keep their downgrade capability to keep XP running on their older personal computers.
    • by fermion (181285)
      This is one of the reasons why sequestration would not be so bad. While each arm fo the service does have specific needs, it is hard to imagine that these needs extend to general IT and the like. Therefore, if the pentagon chose to, it could come up with a 5-10% reduction in spending.

      And yes, social service can also find saving. For instance, if Congress allowed medicare part D to aggressively negotiate costs, ut would save several billion dollars. We already are on track to punish hospitals that do no

  • Discount? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HeckRuler (1369601) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:38PM (#42481523)

    The deal awards Microsoft $617 million, which is after discounts to the software totaling in the tens of millions.

    So... between $20 and $90 million out of a $617 million deal is 3.2%-14%. The most powerful military force in the world, and that's the best discount they could get? For sharepoint?

    • by Yaa 101 (664725)

      We have this in Europe too, we call it subsidies and subsidies do not need discounts. :-)

  • by webdog314 (960286) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:42PM (#42481595)

    Blue Screen of Death

  • by TheDarAve (513675) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:43PM (#42481605)

    The DoD already has access through contract to that software. The problem isn't access / purchase of the software, the limitation is the security paperwork needed to USE any of that software! ( https://acc.dau.mil/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=22645 [dau.mil] ) The security paperwork that is required can be long, very long, sometimes HUNDREDS of pages long, and take *YEARS* to get reviewed and approved! The DoD just keeps ADDING bureaucratic layers to this process every year as well! There's a point where the security paperwork just causes more harm than good. By the time you get the software solution engineered and approved, its already most of the way to being completely obsolete! You want to fix the software in the DoD? Fix the process that governs it! Streamline it, cut out the what has by now become multiple layers of unneeded CRAP that's only there because a spot failed at some point, and the solution they came up with simply involved just adding more layers to an already unruly behemoth!

    TL;DR - Good luck M$! By the time you get Windows 8 approved, it'll be 4-8 years later.

    • The DoD already has access through contract to that software. The problem isn't access / purchase of the software, the limitation is the security paperwork needed to USE any of that software! ( https://acc.dau.mil/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=22645 [dau.mil] ) The security paperwork that is required can be long, very long, sometimes HUNDREDS of pages long, and take *YEARS* to get reviewed and approved! The DoD just keeps ADDING bureaucratic layers to this process every year as well!

      Why does this make it seem that the US military is becoming more and more like the Vogon armed forces.

  • by drankr (2796221) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:43PM (#42481607)
    We in Europe welcome this development.
  • windows for warships 8 now with touch screen guns.

    IT"s never been easier to go to war sign up to day!!

  • by RudyHartmann (1032120) on Friday January 04, 2013 @07:15PM (#42482121)

    I am in the semiconductor business. Of course we know how heavily dependent the military is on this technology. But yet, often times when a piece of military hardware is built, there is a requirement for a second source. This is in case the first source should falter in delivery. It's a security issue based on that. Why is this any different with software? If the military were to commit themselves to free open source software, they would be more soundly in control of their own security and destiny. This Microsoft deal doesn't make sense at all.

    • There are a great many people in the Pentagon who seem to understand this principle with regards to everything except software. I don't get it either.

    • by sqrt(2) (786011)

      It makes perfect sense when you factor in cronyism and economic-nationalism. There's a sense that, if money is going to be spent, it should be spent on products made by a US for-profit firm. The military is almost always the most conservative and nationalistic institution a country has, maybe only second to a State Church which doesn't exist in the US.

      Also, don't underestimate ideology. The principles of FLOSS sounds a lot like communism/socialism to people for whom those words still have huge negative, evi

      • Granted, the license terms of FLOSS definitely has the look and feel of a socialist ideology. And yes, the military is very conservative. I actually am the father of two sons in the USMC. But aside from the politics (which makes me cringe) FLOSS is "open". One is free to dissect the code and alter it on a whim. I actually also think Windows 7 is a decent product.. I do not like 8 at all. But right now I am doing this reply using Linux Mint 14 KDE. With Microsoft as a partner, the software also becomes an ex

  • I'll bet the military will spend a billion dollars before realizing nothing is ever going to work, except the BSOD.
  • by frisket (149522)
    Great. So the Prez gets a Big Red Button on a Win8 tablet.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Along with IE 8. Woo Hoo. So long XP and IE 7.
  • Well, there is $617M in pentagon cuts if cognress can't get its act together regarding the fiscal cliff.

  • a stupid decision and what rock have they been living under that they have no personal knowledge of Windows and its shortcomings?
    Why would anyone with ANY windows experience think that it would be a good idea for our military to be using it?

    We deserve the government we get because we are stupid and vote for idiots.

    I think it's time to move to Canada!

  • As I disclaimer I'll say I like Microsoft, I develop mostly in VS. I even like Windows 8, God forbid. Don't hate me for it, it's an entirely different point than the one I am trying to make.

    What I am really very curious about though is why Windows is even relevant to the DoD. Not because it can't be, but because I find it hard to believe the DoD doesn't have their own division developing and maintaining a light-weight, multi-purpose, very secure Linux distro. It would seem to make so much more sense. They c

    • by PPH (736903)

      Because Pentagon procurement is all about sending as much business as possible to suppliers who will in turn make large contributions to members of legislative DoD oversight committees.

  • Got all those nasty bugs ironed out? Like the divide by zero bug [wired.com] that locked up the USS Yorktown helm?

    No, Not yet. [findmysoft.com]

    • Once they update to "Warship Windows RT"... it'll solve ALL their problems... provided they update the entire ship to touchscreen technology. :)

  • Think about it, both sides stand to gain. Microsoft gains a lot by getting thinking/bugs sorted out. Don't think developers and PMs will ignore disgruntled soldiers and windows will learn a lot about robustness and usability. Army gets faster in developing software. Say what you will, microsoft makes hard to achieve features easily accessible. I stress accessible only.

  • Seriously, Sharepoint? Does anyone actually like SharePoint?
    • by B5Fan (639395)

      Seriously, Sharepoint? Does anyone actually like SharePoint?

      Yes, Microsoft. It locks people into Office, which locks them into Windows, which is the only thing keeping Microsoft from a steep downward spiral.
      Like a 747 in the air and without working engines, but in a powerful updraft.

  • They should first modernize their thoughts. There are alternatives to Microsoft.
  • This is another nail in the coffin of the American Empire. Seriously... think about it.
  • US Military + Microsoft = New meaning of "Blue Screen Of Death"

    Do computer viruses count as biological weapons? If so, international treaties may be in jeopardy.

    If you thought the US Defense Department was over budget and behind schedule before, just wait until full Microsoft integration is complete.

    I hope the passwords to the nukes are more secure than Windows passwords.

    etc, etc....
  • This video shows how the military deals with Microsoft products:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz4EKv9HmsM [youtube.com]

  • Isn't it somewhat fitting that the military of the world's biggest corporatocracy, the United States, runs proprietary software of the world's biggest software corporation? They'll finally be just eating their own dog food. Of course, that would be a delightful and easy target to hack from all around the world.

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