WorldCom keeps DREN

The General Accounting Office last month threw out the final protest of the 10-year, $450 million Defense Research and Engineering Network contract.

The Defense Information Systems Agency can now proceed with the contract, which it awarded in April to WorldCom Inc., to build a research network for Defense Department and other researchers.
The protest, from Global Crossing Ltd. of Bermuda, was one of three that had been filed with GAO. AT&T Corp. and Sprint Corp. withdrew their protests late last month.

Dan Gordon, associate general counsel for GAO, said the agency sided with DISA's determination that Global Crossing was a "nonresponsible" contender for the contract. The vendor did not have the financial soundness to compete for the project, DISA officials had argued.

Global Crossing had originally won the DREN contract but lost it last summer following an earlier round of protests. During the second competition, DISA chose WorldCom, saying it offered the best value.

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