Alliant assists State Department with Vanguard infrastructure project
State Department turns to Alliant for its Vanguard infrastructure project
When the Department of State wanted to consolidate and strengthen its critical information technology infrastructures, agency officials selected GSA’s Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) as its vehicle for issuing the task order for the massive project.
Known as Vanguard 2.2.1, the project called for a contractor to design, operate and maintain, and secure the State Department’s enterprise IT infrastructures. Security was a high priority for the global network that would connect the department’s offices throughout the world.
State Department officials decided to use Alliant because the contract was flexible enough to meet all of the department’s contract requirements, said a department official who worked on the Vanguard 2.2.1 contract. In addition, Alliant’s pool of contractors had the required expertise to deliver the required services and solutions. “All of the contractors were prequalified. We knew they could perform,” the official said.
Alliant officials reviewed the State Department’s statement of objectives to ensure that it was within scope of the contract. Alliant sent people to train State Department staff on how to use the contract, and top Alliant officials attended the vendors conference held by the State Department in preparation for the competition.
Overall, using the Alliant contract saved the State Department the time and resources that would have been required to create such a contract on its own. “We got outstanding support from GSA on the contract,” the official said.
The State Department awarded the $2.5 billion task order to SAIC in December 2010, making it the largest Alliant task order to date. The task order was placed on hold following a protest, which was afterward withdrawn. SAIC started to perform services under the task order in February 2011.Vanguard 2.2.1 will consolidate services that are now performed for the State Department under about 120 different contracts, many of which lack performance measures or service-level agreements (SLAs) to ensure contractor performance, according to State Department officials. The contractors are also operating under different types of contracts, including time and materials.
One optional objective of Vanguard 2.2.1 is to establish a single IT platform that will meet the needs of all Foreign Affairs Agencies, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, in support of diplomatic and development efforts.. In addition, the new task order is structured so that contractors assume a reasonable share of financial and business risk by using firm-fixed price contract line items, service level agreements and performance incentives.
Although the contract has been awarded, Alliant officials are continuing to assist the Vanguard 2.2.1 program, such as trying to help the agency get socio-economic small business subcontracting credits under the task order, department officials said.