Sustaining Australia’s “FVEY” Mission Partner Environment

Insitec provides Level 3 Technical Support for the Australian Defence Force’s Deployed ICT Mission Partner Environment (MPE). The sustainment support contract follows successful transitioning of MPE system support, in 2021, and focuses on the provision of efficient combined network infrastructure, communications and end user computing services to more than 35,000 ADF personnel in Australia and overseas.

Ongoing sustainment support of Australia’s Mission Partner Environment is an essential part of the Defence’s operational capability and its ability to collaborate with partner nations.

Australia’s Mission Partner Environment (MPE) is a dedicated network for secure information sharing between the Five Eyes (FVEY) intelligence alliance comprising joint forces from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States.

It is one of four essential networks in Defence’s deployed ICT environment. These networks provide essential command, control, situational awareness, and allied/partner interoperability. It is a vital link for more than 35,000 ADF personnel serving on deployed operations and exercises for the Australian Defence Force. This includes troops in the field, ships at sea, and joint headquarters and support bases worldwide.

Insitec supported Fujitsu as one of a group of IT service providers contracted to provide technical support for these networks.

Discovery and Sustainment
The MPE was originally established as an interim system with considerable development work undertaken in recent years. As support commenced after transition, it was apparent that a different approach was required to ensure the system remained current and stable. Significant work was required to address this, primarily the extensive implementation of application updates and patches. Supplied configuration information was also found to be outdated, requiring a great deal of additional discovery work to properly document the support technologies.

Performance in a complex environment
Due to the complex environment, it was initially expected that the existing MPE support model, with one service provider providing support across all service areas, would continue after transition. The decision to move to multiple service providers presented a considerable challenge, particularly when establishing clearly defined support models and delineation of responsibilities across each work package.

The MPE support Insitec provides is part of a much wider program of work that aims to establish an integrated support model for Defence across its multiple deployed ICT environments.

Insitec works closely with both Defence and the other service providers to ensure sustainment support is delivered in a streamlined and seamless fashion. An overarching maintenance and compliance plan has been developed by the Level 3 team, with the involvement of partners Fujitsu and other service providers.

Open lines of communication have been established to remove delivery silos and foster collaboration involving:

  • Collaborative weekly delivery workshops
  • Development of a multi-provider Risk & Issue Register with monthly review
  • Weekly Incident and problem forums involving all providers

In order to provide the highest standards of support, Insitec’s team includes subject matter experts in each technology stream as well as a specialist technical lead and service delivery manager.

L3 team rapidly responds to requests for technical support. Given the nature of the environment, these are often identified in preparation for orduring an active exercise or deployment.

Engineering specialists from the Deployed ICT team have been actively involved in fault rectification and network testing in the field. This includes reviewing operations on board the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Adelaide, and participating in Predator Run 2022, an Australian Army exercise involving forces from Malaysia, the Philippines and the US Marine Corps.

Requests for support are time-sensitive and usually require input from many different team members without notice. The L3 team has demonstrated a flexible and dynamic approach that places the needs of deployed units as its highest priority.