Contract Watch

November awards bring billions in defense contracts

Engineering services, infrastructure support deals move forward

In November, Defense Department awards yielded billions of reasons for government contractors to give thanks. The companies benefiting included Science Applications International Corp., ManTech International Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

SAIC won a five-year, $848 million task order under the Army Aviation and Missile Command’s Expedited Professional and Engineering Support Services contract. The company will lead a team of 238 subcontractors in providing life cycle systems and software engineering support required to help integrate technology and equipment at the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Software Engineering Directorate at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala.

The Army also tapped ManTech to help boost its command and intelligence capabilities under a new five-year, $286 million contract to provide testing of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, navigation and sensor capabilities at Army installations.

To continue network infrastructure and maintenance support and consolidate the Network Infrastructure Services Operation and Pentagon Primary Technical Control Facility contracts, the Pentagon tapped incumbent provider Lockheed Martin for the $292 million award.

The new contract is not a recompetition of the old Army Information Technology Agency (ITA) contract but a combination of two existing contracts: Network Infrastructure Services Operation (NISO) and the Pentagon Primary Technical Control Facility. Lockheed Martin is the incumbent on both contracts.

Lockheed’s history of handling DOD networks goes back nearly a decade. In 2000, under NISO, the company won a 10-year Army ITA award to provide and manage all IT network infrastructure for the Pentagon.

When the company started work on the contract, the Pentagon’s communications infrastructure was in flux. “This was a complete renovation of the Pentagon one fifth at a time," said John Ratajczak, Lockheed Martin ITA program manager. "Everything was removed and upgraded to include the cabling and communications equipment." As the areas were renovated, Lockheed Martin took over responsibility for operation and maintenance, he said.

After the 2001 terrorist attacks, renovation efforts accelerated and expanded. “We gained more areas and customers than originally expected,” Ratajczak said.

“Additionally, redundancy and diversity was implemented to protect all networks which also increased the scope of the original contract.”

After the 2001 terrorist attacks, Lockheed Martin’s team developed a metropolitan-area network to give the Pentagon synchronous optical network connectivity to exterior sites, so that in the event of an attack, DOD leaders will have access to critical network resources.

The additional, unanticipated work burned through the contract faster than planned, which necessitated a sole-source contract to Lockheed Martin in March to continue support for the NISO mission for the six months until fiscal 2010. Under this interim contract, the Army combined the ITA contract with the Pentagon Primary Tech Control Facility contract, also held by Lockheed Martin since 1999.

“ITA was — and is — going through some transformations…and they needed the time to ensure the new contract fit the new model,” Ratajczak said.

The Lockheed Martin team manages all networks at the Pentagon — in addition to maintaining network equipment for 60 areas outside the Pentagon — and is working to transition network management control in Wedge 4 of the Pentagon before moving on the fifth and final wedge.

The contract represents more than a paycheck to the company. It means that “at a moment’s notice, when things go wrong, when ships are hit, or embassies are bombed, it’s our responsibility to stand up the network infrastructure to ensure that the customer has the critical information to keep our nation safe,” Ratajczak said in an internal Lockheed Martin document.

About the Author

Sami Lais is a special contributor to Washington Technology.

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