The news in brief

Protests stop Army AKO work

The Army has announced that Lockheed Martin Corp. won't do any work on the Army Knowledge Online portal until the Government Accountability Office resolves protests by competitors CherryRoad Technologies Inc. of Parsippany, N.J., and EDS Corp. challenging the contract award.

Lockheed's Integrated Systems and Solutions Division in Gaithersburg, Md., won the $152 million contract to manage the Army's online network and was to begin managing the help desk and hosting the Army home page in a few weeks.

NOAA seeks consolidated support

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans by the end of September to release a request for proposals for a six-year, consolidated IT support services contract.

The Commerce Department agency will seek IT services for help desk, seat management, Web programming and development, network operations center, e-mail operations and other services.

The contract will be competed under Commerce Information Technology Services Next Generation, a small-business, governmentwide acquisition IT contract.

Registered Traveler takes off from Florida

The nation's first privately sponsored Registered Traveler program sanctioned by the Homeland Security Department began operating last month at Orlando International Airport in Florida.

Since the program began June 21, about 4,000 people have paid the $80 annual fee to sign up and submit to background checks. Once cleared, they receive biometric smart cards to benefit from speedier clearance procedures through the airport.

Lockheed Martin Corp. and Verified Identity Pass Inc. operate the program in partnership with DHS and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

Oleson turns over CEO title

Bradford Antle was appointed president and chief executive officer at Reston, Va.-based SI International Inc., replacing founder Ray Oleson, who will become executive chairman. Currently president and chief operating officer, Antle takes over his new duties in September.

The changes are in keeping with the company's long-term succession plans, Oleson said in a prepared statement. He founded the company in 1998.

VA posts Peaches 3 contract opportunity

The Veterans Affairs Department issued a draft request for proposals for its five-year, $1.4 billion Procurement of Computer Hardware and Software contract, known as Peaches 3.

Under the multiple-award contract, VA will be able to buy a wide range of network and desktop software and hardware as well as IT services. The award is scheduled for April 2006, according to federal research firm Input Inc., Reston, Va. Comments are due by Aug. 2.

Thompson slams DHS deal

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) criticized DHS' $175 million award to Northrop Grumman Information Technology to build a new personnel system, called MaxHR.

Thompson, ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, called "inappropriate" DHS' use of a blanket purchase agreement. A BPA should be used to benefit from quantity discounts and simplify the purchase of frequently bought items, he said.

"Most of the expenses involved in designing and implementing a new human resources system would be singular and non-recurring," he wrote, and Northrop Grumman does not appear to be offering quantity discounts on the IT work.

FedBizOpps contract is back

The General Services Administration has reopened the contract to revamp, after issuing an amendment diminishing the requirement for integrated IT security between the system and other agency applications.

The agency asked the four companies bidding on the contract to resubmit only that portion of their proposals affected by the new amendment. New bids are due by July 25.

GSA had awarded the $17.4 million contract to Symplicity Corp., Arlington, Va. The Government Accountability Office then dismissed the contract award protests filed by Devis Corp. and Information Sciences Corp.

New security network rolls out

The Homeland Security Department is deploying a new data network to pass classified information to hundreds of state and local officials, DHS officers said at a congressional hearing in July.

The Homeland Security Information Network-Secret network will operate until the new DHS secret-level backbone, the Homeland Security Data Network, is initiated in fiscal 2007, said Matthew Broderick, director of the Homeland Security Operations Center.

HSIN-Secret is being deployed and tested at 50 state emergency operations centers and 18 state and local law enforcement sites.

OPM contract offers 59 e-learning flavors

Federal agencies will have 59 vendors in six specialized areas to choose from for their online learning services under a long-awaited contract the Office of Personnel Management awarded last month.

The Office of Management and Budget said 71 agencies were using GoLearn in fiscal 2004. With the addition of the National Security Agency's FasTrac and the Commerce Department's National Technology Information Service online learning sites in September 2004, new task orders may be hard to come by, one vendor said.

"A lot of this has already been done," said Frank Russell, president of contract winner GeoLearning Inc. "But there are infinite opportunities in some areas, including content, new courses or new ways to deliver it."

IBM expands partner program

IBM Corp. through its Partner World Industry Network has launched a program to recognize and reward its public-sector business partners that build applications and provide integration services for IBM middleware and eServers.

Companies in the program will have a single access point to IBM technical, marketing and sales resources. The network provides support in identifying market opportunities, technical enablement assistance, networking and collaboration, and marketing and sales services.

Council: Improve animal health monitoring

The United States needs a new, high-level agency to coordinate efforts against outbreaks of emerging animal diseases, such as mad cow disease, avian flu and West Nile virus arising from either natural causes or terrorism, said a new report from the National Academies of Science's National Research Council.

Also needed are new systems for sharing information among agencies and databases, the report said.

Animal disease outbreaks can have huge economic and health impacts. Avian flu has, as of January, killed 34 people and caused the loss of more than 100 million birds.

Rail security amendments stall

The Senate failed to pass amendments in July that would have added funding for mass transit security to reflect increased concern since the July 7 London subway bombings.

The Senate approved a budget of $31.9 billion for the Homeland Security Department for fiscal 2006, including $100 million for rail and mass transit security, the same amount recommended by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The House version of the bill has $150 million for securing mass transit systems.

Triad set to chase outsourcing deal

IBM Corp. has forged an alliance with Accenture Ltd. and Science Applications International Corp. to pursue San Diego County's outsourcing and telecommunications contract renewal.

Big Blue plans to bid as prime contractor, with subcontractors Accenture and SAIC as key partners, an IBM official said.

IBM, whose alliance is known as Innovation San Diego, is the first to publicly announce its team. Proposals on the $875 million, seven-year deal are due by Aug. 30. The contract is scheduled for award Dec. 5.

The current contract is held by Computer Sciences Corp.

Spherix argues e-Reservation re-award

Spherix Inc. of Beltsville, Md., has filed a protest against the Agriculture Department's re-award of its single federal recreation information and reservation service to ReserveAmerica, Ballston Spa, N.Y.

Spherix claimed a variety of flaws in the procurement, including Agriculture's failure to conduct adequate discussions, improper evaluations of vendor offers and failure to justify its choice of the substantially higher cost of ReserveAmerica's proposal, said Spherix spokeswoman Kathy Brailer.

Agriculture's Forest Service in June again awarded the $97 million National Recreation Reservation System contract to ReserveAmerica, a subsidiary of Ticketmaster.

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