WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Verizon Public Sector a $495 million contract to deliver the network that connects 200 research labs and supercomputer locations, the company announced.

Verizon will provide the department with switches, routers, firewalls and “edge compute” capabilities for the department’s Defense Research and Engineering Network and its High Performance Computing Modernization Program, according to the June 17 announcement. The contract has a four-year base with three two-year options.

“Our managed services solutions will create a next-generation user experience for research teams utilizing the DREN platform while also enhancing security across the network,” said Jennifer Chronis, senior vice president for public sector at Verizon.

The Defense Research and Engineering Network is a high-speed fiber optic network that allows military supercomputers and researchers to collaborate on research, development, test and evaluation efforts. The High Performance Computing Modernization Program, or HPCMP, provides advanced computing capabilities to the DoD’s research, development, test and evaluation community. Last year, HPCMP purchased two new supercomputers as part of a pivot to accommodating increased demand for data analytics.

According to the Verizon release, the network will allow research teams to be “brought together in near real time to develop and test big data analyses, artificial intelligence, machine learning and simulations, helping to tackle complex problems from climate change and pandemic response to next generation autonomous defense systems.”

“The network will move beyond the challenge of recurring investment and high effort technology revolutions so that multidisciplinary teams may consume technical enhancement and innovation on a continuous, evolutionary basis with increased transparency to day-to-day operations,” the release stated.

Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.

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