WT Business Beat


All NetCents II protests dismissed

The Government Accountability Office might be closed along with much of the rest of the government, but GAO’s bid protest group gave a small gift to eight contractors fighting for spots on the Air Force’s $6.9 billion NetCents II Products contract.

As indicated by sources on Monday, all of the protests filed against the Air Force’s third round of awards for the contract have been dismissed as the service plans a new corrective action that will include awards to all bidders on the contract.

The Air Force has tried three times -- and failed three times -- to make award decisions that could stand the heat of bid protests. This time, it appears they have decided to just throw in the towel and make awards to all bidders.

While official awards have not been made yet, and may be delayed by the government shutdown, it appears that the Air Force is ready to put this sad chapter in its procurement history behind it.

The contract will have 24 primes vying for task orders to sell the Air Force a variety of commercial IT products and related services. See my last blog for the list of all 24.

So, this chapter closes on NetCents II Products. These 24 will compete for task orders, and as one source told me, there could be several who never win a dollar under the contract.

At least the Air Force gets to move on and let market forces work their magic.

Of course, other protests are pending for other parts of the NetCents II program, namely the Applications Services portion of the contract, but that’s only gone through one round of awards, and the Air Force is now taking a corrective action.

Let’s hope it doesn’t take three more tries to get it settled.

Posted on Oct 01, 2013 at 11:13 AM0 comments


Is the NetCents II nightmare over?

It looks like the Air Force has lost its will to fight for its round three decisions for the $6.9 billion NetCents II Products contract.

In round three, the Air Force decided to move forward with 16 of 24 bidders. Of course, the eight losing bidders filed protests. This was all in late August and early September.

Unlike previous rounds of protest, where the Air Force immediately caved to the protestors and pulled back the award decision, the Air Force this time sounded like they were ready to fight for their decision.

In a statement, they told me: The Air Force applied significant efforts to plan and review each step of the corrective action and re-award for the NETCENTS 2 Products awards. We understand the disappointment of offerors not selected for award, but continue to believe that the corrective action and award decisions are sound.

It looked very much like the protests with the Government Accountability Office would run their course, and we’d have a final decision in December.

But as of this morning, I started hearing from some well-placed sources that something is afoot, and at least two companies have been told to stand by for a new award decision.

I’ve reached out to the Air Force, but so far, no word back.

It makes me think that if two are getting new awards, then all eight will, and frankly, it’s about time the Air Force made this move.

The argument that the Air Force presented in its source selection decision document didn’t seem strong enough to me to preclude the losing eight bidders. They said a new round of evaluations would essentially re-open the procurement and put previous winners at an unfair disadvantage because their product and pricing information had been disclosed to competitors.

But the Air Force also admitted in the document that many of the products bid in the second go-around were obsolete and discontinued, so they actually would never really be sold through the contract.

All 24 bidders were deemed technically acceptable, so why not just let them fight it out over individual task orders? Managing 24 contractors will not be that much more complicated than managing 16, a source told me.

And that appears to be what the Air Force has decided to do.

So, let the competition begin.

As a reminder, the winners in round three are:

  • Ace Technology Partners LLC, Arlington Heights, Ill.
  • Blue Tech, Inc., San Diego
  • CDW Government LLC, Vernon Hills, Ill.
  • CounterTrade Products Inc., Arvada, Colo.
  • FedStore Corp., Rockville, Md.
  • General Dynamics Corp., Falls Church, Va.
  • Global Technology Resources Inc., Denver
  • immix Technology Inc., McLean, Va.
  • Integration Technologies Group, Falls Church, Va.
  • Intelligent Decisions Inc., Ashburn, Va.
  • Iron Bow Technologies LLC, Chantilly, Va.
  • M2 Technology, San Antonio
  • MicroTech, Vienna, Va.
  • Red River Computer Co., Claremont, N.H.
  • Unicom Government Inc., Herndon, Va. (formerly GTSI)
  • World Wide Technology, Inc., Maryland Heights, Mo. 

The eight companies that now appear about to join them in the competition are:

  • Dell Federal Systems
  • FCN Inc.
  • Force 3 Inc.
  • Harris IT Services
  • Insight Public Sector
  • PCMG
  • Presidio Network Solutions
  • Sterling Computers

Posted on Sep 30, 2013 at 9:59 AM0 comments


SAIC is dead; long live SAIC

Monday morning, or this morning if you are reading this on Monday, Leidos will have opened its doors and begun trading on Wall Street as a newly minted public company. And so is Science Applications International Corp.

In essence, both are new companies and can equally lay claim to the legacy of Robert Beyster, who launched SAIC in 1969 and led it for 35 years.

I know he doesn’t think the split was a good idea. He’s always felt the sum of SAIC’s parts were greater than the whole, but Beyster also has acknowledged that times have changed and the market is different.

SAIC’s split was driven by a couple factors, but basically, the company’s leadership felt the growth of the company was hindered by remaining a single entity. The higher-margin science and technology business was limited in what it could bid on because of organizational conflicts of interest concerns raised by the IT and technical services side of the business. The IT business also has become a very different animal with the emphasis on low price. To compete in that world, it needed a different kind and lower cost infrastructure.

Here is a leadership rundown of the two companies.

Leidos:

  • John Jumper, chairman and CEO
  • Stu Shea, president and chief operating officer
  • Mark Sopp, CFO
  • Vince Maffeo, general counsel
  • Joe Craver, president, health and engineering
  • Lou Von Thaer, sector president, national security
  • John Thomas, executive vice president for strategic development
  • John Sweeney, senior vice president, investor relations

SAIC

  • Anthony Moraco, CEO
  • John Hartley, CFO
  • Thomas Baybrook, chief of administration and operations
  • Brian Keenan, executive vice president, human resources
  • Deborah James, president, technical services
  • Nassic Keen, president, enterprise IT
  • Mark Schultz, general counsel
  • Laura Kennedy, senior vice president and chief ethics officer
  • Thomas Wofford, senior vice president, internal audit

If you are planning to compete or partner with SAIC or Leidos, it’s worth studying the presentations from the companies’ investor meetings on Sept. 11.

SAIC presentation

Leidos presentation

Some of the highlights worth noting from these presentations include the competitors that each expect to face, major contracts they hold and expected growth drivers.

Both companies, of course, are very large, and their customer sets touch nearly all parts of the federal government, particularly the defense world.

Leidos clocks in with $6 billion in annual revenue, with $4 billion tagged to its national security business, and $2 billion in the health and engineering sector. Interestingly, while 99 percent of national security is government work, the split for health and engineering is 37 percent government and 63 percent commercial. The company has 23,000 employees.

The new SAIC has about $4 billion in annual revenue and 14,000 employees. The presentation doesn't breakdown the revenue by its two sectors, but it does identify several major contracts including:

  • Army ITES-2S
  • State Vanguard
  • NASA NICS
  • DHS Eagle
  • Navy Network Integration Engineering Facility

For now, I don't think customers or competitors will see a huge change beyond the name, but what will be interesting to watch is how these companies try to grow going forward, as they try to reap the benefits of the split.

Posted on Sep 27, 2013 at 12:22 PM1 comments


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