The federal government’s many divisions and employees obtain services and materials from the GSA, the General Services Administration, and this large administration is responsible for a wide variety of duties to the federal government and the military, ranging from emergency services to firearm optics for special forces squads to firefighting equipment to preserving historical buildings. The GSA also handles more mundane work such as providing trucks and cars to different federal offices, as well as the office buildings themselves and the supplies in them such as paper, desks, and filing cabinets. One of the more intriguing services provided may be C4ISR systems, often used by the police and military. Just what are C4ISR systems, and what else does the GSA do for the federal government’s divisions and employees?
Overview of the GSA
The General Services Administration is very large and has many responsibilities. To keep everything organized, the GSA is split into various Schedules, and its Schedules program is divided into about 30 different contracts that in turn are divided by industry. The GSA’s Security Schedule, for example, is split into over 100 different subcategories, known as Special Item Numbers, or SINs. In 2017’s fiscal year, to put a number on it, government buyers spent about $1.2 billion through contracts with the GSA’s Security Schedule. Meanwhile, the GSA’s Buildings and Building Materials Schedule 56 contract provides for the government a source of quality industrial services and supplies, and it will also provide prefabricated structures as needed. This will also include installing efficient energy systems, and may even include recent alternative energy sources such as solar panels. The GSA also provides many vehicles, about 65,000 of them per year, and this totals up to around $1 billion in high-quality vehicles and related automotive services. What else can the GSA do?
Police, Emergency, and Military Services
Various police departments, firefighting crews, security personnel and special armed units, and the military can make use of the GSA’s services, usually to acquire the materials needed for these dangerous jobs. Special operational equipment can be bought through a GSA defense contractors, such as firearm optics, helmets and visors, bulletproof vests, communication gear, jeeps, police cruisers, and more. Firefighting crews may also get their gear this way, ranging from the fire trucks themselves to fire hoses, oxygen tanks, uniforms, and axes. This may also extend to the helicopters and medical equipment used by search and rescue crews.
Many of these services also make use of C4ISR systems. Just what are C4ISR systems? It is an acronym for Command, Control, Computer, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, and police forces, the military, and other armed units can make use of this to promote security and intercept and neutralize threats to innocent lives and federal government interests. With the proper use of C4ISR systems, any unit can be ready for action.
To break it down, Command and Control describes the central authority in a mission for a police or military unit, and who creates and gives the orders. It is the brains of the operation, in short, and C4ISR cannot function effectively without it. Meanwhile, Communication describes the transmission of data relevant to the mission, and Computer describes the actual computers and their software used for a mission. Today, C4ISR systems always make use of computers, and they will have to be powerful and up to date so that they remain competitive today. Computer security such as firewalls and anti-virus methods can help keep C4ISR clear of various cyber-attacks that could compromise them.
Intelligence refers to data that is gathered and relevant to the mission, and is passed to different members of a mission by means of Communication. Surveillance refers to the act of collecting that intelligence in friendly, neutral, or safe areas, whether through human agents working in the field or intercepting digital communication between various outside parties. Reconnaissance is a similar act, except it is carried out in unfriendly or uncontrolled areas, and can also be done by means of robotic drones if the team is unwilling or unable to risk human agents out in the field. When C4iSR systems are all working together, they create a smooth and efficient system that can keep any mission running.