$5 billion satcom contract opens for business

The Future Commercial Satellite Communications Acquisition contract now has enough contractors to begin competitions for work under the $5 billion Schedules program.

This article was corrected to indicate that the Defense Information Systems Agency worked on the Future Commercial Satellite Communications Acquisition program.

The General Services Administration and Defense Information Systems Agency have added Segovia Inc., Hughes Network Systems LLC and CapRock Government Solutions to the slate of vendors to offer satellite services on their joint $5 billion-plus, 10-year Future Commercial Satellite Communications Acquisition.

The first FCSA Schedule 70 award went to Artel Inc. in August, but no task orders could be issued until there were at least three competitors — constituting “adequate competition,” said Kevin Gallo, GSA’s SatCom services program manager.

With the new Schedule 70 awards, agencies can begin issuing task orders under FCSA’s new Schedule Item Numbers (SINs) for transponded bandwidth and subscription services. The awards also let GSA and DISA stay on track to start awarding task orders by year’s end.

DISA and GSA worked together to evaluate award winners to ensure that each can meet the minimum required level, Gallo said. That translates to a FIPS low-impact system for government or a MAC III mission assurance category 3 for the Defense Department.

At the task order level, he said, the order can specify whether it is a low-, moderate- or high-impact system. The ordering activity could do further evaluation at the task order level.

GSA and DISA jointly developed and administer FCSA ComSatCom vehicles, which replace DISA’s DSTS-G: Defense Information System Network (DISN) Satellite Transmission Service-Global, Inmarsat and SatCom II, all set to expire by 2012.

The field of competitors now comprises current Schedule holders:

  • Artel Inc., Reston, Va., holds DSTS-G contract award.
  • CapRock Government Solutions, Fairfax, Va.-based subsidiary of Harris Corp., holds SatCom II and DSTS-G contracts.
  • Hughes Network Services LLC, Germantown, Md., holds SatCom II.
  • Segovia holds SatCom II.

Because the companies are current Schedule 70 contract holders, it was actually a modification to their Schedule 70 contracts so they can now offer services under both of the new FCSA SINs, Gallo said.

“Because Schedule 70 is an open solicitation, there really isn’t a closing date, so we’re continually accepting proposals from other vendors also,” he said.

FCSA comprises the Schedule program for transponded capacity and subscription services, and the five-year multiple-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity portion of the acquisition, Custom Satellite Communications Solutions (CS2) for other satellite services and solutions.

The value of the acquisition is likely to grow past its $5 billion estimate.

“Since then,” Gallo told Washington Technology in September, “we noticed about a 30 percent increase in sales between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2009 over DSTS-G, Inmarsat and SatCom II. So that $5 billion estimate, if anything, will be a little bit low, depending on how the trend toward increasing use of ComSatCom by the federal government continues.”

The same goes for the defense side. “We expect to see an increase in the purchase of ComSatCom to support a lot of the non-critical infrastructure — your transport links between the DISN and the Global Information Grid in order to support your high-bandwidth ISR requirements,” said Daniel Gager, DISA’s FCSA program manager.

No precise estimates on how much DOD’s demand will increase on FCSA are available, Gager said. “It all depends on how much of the ISR requirements are out there, but we’ve seen a substantial increase in the last 18 months.”