Input: 2004 starts slow for big contracts

High-value federal information technology and command and control contract awards totaled just $6.7 billion in January 2004, a decline from January 2003. But contract awards should increase soon, according to a report from Reston, Va.-based researcher Input.

According to the report, January 2004 contract awards slowed year-over-year and versus the previous months.

Input tracked 26 new high-value program awards in the federal sector in January 2004, vs. 46 program awards the previous year. For October, November and December 2003, high-value contract awards totaled $7.7 billion, $7.4 billion and $17.5 billion, respectively.

Input classifies any contract with an award value over $1 million as a high-value contract.

"While January 2004 was slow in terms of overall activity, some vendors benefited from market-shaping trends," said Meredith Luttner, manager of public sector operations at Input.

The report identified several key program awards that were significant for their high monetary values and strong connection to federal government market trends.

  • Input said NASA's award of the $966 million Research Operation, Maintenance, and Engineering contract to Tullahoma, Tenn.-based Jacobs Sverdrup marked a trend towards contract consolidation.

  • The Energy Department's 30 awards under their Energy Information Administration Omnibus Procurement program, valued at $823 million, represented department-wide streamlined acquisitions.

  • The Environment Protection Agency's $699 million award for partner- and agency-wide systems engineering requirements to Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. was an example of performance-based contracting.

  • "New Federal IT and C4I contract award activity will heat up in mid fiscal year 2004," said Luttner. "A surge in multiple award ID/IQ contracts will dominate IT procurement in the coming months."

    According to Input, the federal government is due to award contracts for the next generation of two successful small business, government-wide acquisition programs ? the General Services Administration's 8(a) FAST contract and the Commerce Department's COMMITS contract.

    Awards for several defense programs also are expected this summer.

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