New DISA RFPs put emphasis on competition, efficiency

DISA's strategy for 2011 includes eliminating redundant efforts and putting more emphasis on competition.

The Defense Information Systems Agency is putting an increased emphasis on reducing redundant contracting efforts and enhancing competition as it prepares a slate of new contracts for 2011. The efforts are part of broader DOD efficiency efforts and federally mandated IT consolidation, according to the agency’s acquisition chief.

Tony Montemarano, DISA's component acquisition executive, said today that the agency is moving toward a platform technology infrastructure that offers single technology solutions rather than several organizations crafting their own often-redundant efforts. DISA already has efforts under way in the areas of identity management, voice over IP, a joint enterprise network and thin-client solutions, he said at an event held by AFCEA International's Northern Virginia chapter.

DISA is taking the lead on a number of DOD contracts and teaming with other government agencies in some cases, including the General Services Administration and the National Security Agency.

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DISA is partnering with GSA on future commercial satellite communications contracts, with Schedule 70 contracts in place for transponded capacity and plug-in subscription service contracts. Multiple-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts for custom end-to-end satcom solutions are under evaluation and slated for award next summer. They are open to large and small businesses, Montemarano said.

Decisions are expected beginning in early January on three contracts related to Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) Global Information Grid Services Management (GSM), he added. He did not release any figures related to contract values.

The request for proposals for the GSM-Operations contract is expected in mid-January. It will be a full and open competition for large businesses, Montemarano said. That contract, previously pegged at $4.6 billion, will be for “performance-based services to include provisioning, net operations, net assurance and network maintenance on a worldwide basis,” according to a FedBizOpps announcement.

A GSM contract for engineering, transition and implementation will follow a month later as a multiple-award for small businesses, Montemarano said. The goal of GSM-ETI is to “obtain performance-based services to provide the support necessary to carry out required engineering, transition/implementation, integration, connection approval and IT service management activities, in support of existing DISN networking capabilities,” according to the FedBizOpps announcement. No value has been formally announced.

A third vehicle for GSM, for projects and support, will be awarded via task orders on existing IDIQ contracts, with GSA Alliant looking like the probable resource, Montemarano said.

He stressed the need for increased competition on the GSM contracts — an issue that might have factored into the seven-month delay on RFP releases, which were originally expected in June.

“We need a level playing field. We need to have competition. We’re not just going to give it to the incumbent,” he said. “And once we award the contracts, there needs to be a level playing field between government and industry.”

He also noted that DISA is moving away from a managed-services approach for video and collaboration tools — including desktop, room-based teleconferencing and integrated service — in favor of the ability to adopt new technology as it becomes available.

“We’re going to evolve based on technological maturity,” he said.

Montemarano made other contract announcements, including:

  • Multiple-award, task-order-based, cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts for large businesses supporting DISA's Joint Interoperability Test Command are expected in early January. Areas of support will include testing, technology demonstrations and joint experiments, programs and operations, and day-to-day operations.
  • The Centrix Cross-Enclave Requirement contract for replacement of the Trusted Network Environment is on hold pending analysis.
  • The Distributed Tactical Communications System contract for continued development of netted Iridium handsets and user applications will likely be part of the Encore II vehicle, with an RFP expected in February 2011.
  • The Integrated Gaming System contract for development of modeling and simulation software is also likely to be part of Encore II. No date was announced for its release.
  • Contracts for privilege management and detection of denial-of-service attacks are expected in the third and fourth quarters of fiscal 2011, respectively.

Montemarano also noted that due to DOD's increasing sensitivity to security, some upcoming contract opportunities will be classified and won’t be posted on public sites.