Treasury seeks next-generation network

The Treasury Department this week released its request for proposals for the Treasury Communications Enterprise, its next-generation enterprise network to enhance communications services from Northrop Grumman Corp., whose contract is set to expire in September 2005. The 10-year TCE contract could be worth $3 billion if all options are exercised.

The contractor will provide a single, departmentwide area network including technology, support and management for Treasury's 850 locations.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract will have a three-year base period until September 2007 plus seven one-year options. Proposals must be submitted by June 18. The department wants to award the contract by October to ensure a smooth transition.

Treasury currently has multiple telecommunications networks connected through a distributed hub-and-spoke architecture, the IRS Office of Procurement said in its May 4 solicitation. TCE will be a secure enterprise network for data, voice and video. The contract includes a provision for emerging technology to enable new business requirements in addition to future government IT requirements such as voice over IP, unified messaging, IP-based desktop video/audio conferencing and electronic collaboration.

The contractor must also develop disaster recovery and continuity of operations plans, a centrally managed method to authenticate traffic and control access, secure Internet access, perimeter firewall protection, and intrusion and virus protection services.

"It is important that we have the widest range and the deepest set of ideas and managed services capability," said former Treasury CIO Drew Ladner in January before a draft request was released. Ladner left Treasury at the end of April.

Officials believe a centralized network with consistent standards and interfaces will reduce the management burden and improve interoperability through consolidation of vendors and products. It should also reduce costs.

More than 85 IT companies have expressed interest in the contract.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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