Bids due for $4.6B DISA networking contract

Contractor bids for one of the Defense Information Systems Agency's largest networking contracts should be finished by the end of the month.

The goal in awarding the Global Information Grid Services Management Operations contract is to shrink costs, writes Terry Costlow of Defense Systems. Other awards for the grid services management program are for engineering and support. But the total award is worth $4.6 billion and is mostly allotted for the GSM-O project, a fixed-price, performance-based program.

To help the military install the newest technologies faster that the enemy, the winning contractor will be be asked to make use of standardized technologies used in industry such as automation.

Since the Defense Department bases its communication plans on the Global Information Grid, the winning contractor will need to improve provisioning and network operations, assurance and maintenance.

The chosen contractor will pioneer a shift to hone in on systems that make it easier "to adopt new technology as communications capabilities evolve, rather than dictating technology in the contract," according to the article.

Transformational capability, appears to be what DISA is looking for. This capability, where the contractor must focus on level of service at a fixed price, instead of providing a certain number of people, puts a lot of risk on the contractor, DeEtte Gray, Lockheed Martin's vice president of enterprise IT solutions, told Defense Systems. Lockheed is one of the GSM-O bidders.

Three 2011 Top 100 contractorsScience Applications International Corp.Northrop Grumman and Computer Sciences Corp., already hold existing Global Support contracts. Lockheed Martin also is a Top 100 contractor.