Dutch Ministry of Defense signs contract for modern and flexible IT

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State Secretary Barbara Visser of Defense signed a contract with IBM, on behalf of the market consortium Athena (IBM/Atos/ Unica) to start in 2021 with the realization of a renewed, future-proof IT infrastructure. Focus will be on the IT infrastructure-parts that have the most added value for operational actions. The Ministry of Defense service units are closely involved in this. 

The Groundbreaking IT (GrIT) program is intended to provide a completely renewed IT infrastructure for Defense. GrIT will develop and realize a reliable, secure, future-proof and flexible IT infrastructure and services for the next ten years.

“Technology and the smart use of information play a crucial role for Defense,” says Secretary of State Barbara Visser. “GrIT stems from this necessity and provides for the renewal of the IT backbone of Defense.”

The digital transformation is an important part of the Defense Vision 2035. “GrIT is much more than a renewal of an information system”, said responsible director Ron Kolkman. “There will be a completely new, highly advanced IT infrastructure, which should turn the armed forces into a high-quality, information-driven organization.”

The work will start in the first quarter of 2021. In the first 1.5 years the construction of new data centers will start (planned duration 20 months) as well as the renewal of the network for sending highly classified information (planned duration 12-24 months). The realization of Defense’s own mobile network will also start (planned duration 11 months).


Best of both worlds 

Due to the rapid pace of IT innovation, Defense is entering into a strategic partnership with the market. Through this approach, Defense can respond quickly and structurally to new developments and innovations.

“According to our planning GrIT will be rolled out in seven years,” explains State Secretary Barbara Visser. “And by working with the market, we can acquire the best available technology. We are going to work with mixed teams, to combine the best from Defense and the market in order to get the best result”.

“With GrIT, Defense will soon have its own mobile network, making it independent of other parties,” says Visser. “That is a very strong point for an organization like ours, which operates globally under difficult circumstances”.


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