GSA juggles multiple contract opportunities

Upcoming GSA contracts

  • Alliant Full and Open and Alliant Small Business: GSA is seeking more industry feedback on its strategy for these contracts.

  • Networx: Awards for Universal by March 2007 and Enterprise by May 2007

  • Satcom II: Bids due by March 14

  • Washington Interagency Telecommunications System 3: Request for proposals expected in early summer

Panel participants at the Telestrategies Federal Networks conference (from left): Eugene Sokolowski, Jim Ghiloni, Karl Krumbholtz,Jim Russo, Margaret G. Bines, John Johnson.

Rick Steele

"We made a lot of changes, not only in strategy, but just the way we're approaching the RFPs." | Jim Ghiloni, GSA

Rick Steele

Billions at stake as competition heats up

Despite twice extending the award dates for its $20 billion Networx procurement, the General Services Administration now wants to significantly beat its current deadlines, as it juggles several other lucrative telecommunications and IT contracts to be awarded over the next two years.

GSA Networx Program Manager Fred Schobert said the procurement agency wants to issue awards for Networx ahead of its March and May 2007 award dates for both parts of the procurement, but he would not give a specific time when GSA would like to issue the awards.

Schobert spoke with Washington Technology after giving a presentation on Networx at the Feb. 16 TeleStrategies Federal Networks 2006 conference in Vienna, Va.

"What we intended to do is go out quickly with the award dates after we've reviewed the proposals and looked at the number of them," Schobert said. "We wanted to go out with the award date that we thought would be the most predictable scenario."

Networx is divided into Universal, for a broad range of global telecom services, and Enterprise, which covers niche telecom services such as wireless or Internet-based solutions. GSA has said it will award Universal in March 2007 and Enterprise in May 2007.

"When we work an evaluation, it depends on a lot of factors and it depends on our ability to hold significant discussions, obviously, with industry, Schobert said. "We're not going to put any more specifics on the timetable than what we've issued."

GSA has told each of the teams pursuing Universal to attend a fact-finding session to discuss their bids with government officials, said Schobert, who also is the director of program management and technology requirements at GSA's , Office of Service Development. GSA will hold meetings with the bidders over a series of days, he added, but declined to give further details.

"At the fact-finding sessions, it'll primarily be the government communicating with industry, but the discussions are broader than that, and we'll also have further discussions with the offerers after the fact-finding," Schobert said.

The huge number of responses from industry, the complexity of the Networx procurement and further program discussions prompted GSA in January to extend the award dates from the previous milestones of July 2006 and September 2006.

GSA will issue multiple awards under Networx, but it has not stated a specific number.

The four teams pursuing Networx Universal are being lead by AT&T Inc., MCI Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp.

While GSA moves ahead on the Networx procurement it also is juggling several other million-dollar and billion-dollar programs that will be awarded in 2007 and 2008.

On Feb. 21, the agency revealed its enhanced strategy via a video webcast for its Alliant program for governmentwide IT products and services, which consists of a $50 billion full-and-open competition and a $15 billion small-business set-aside.

The agency also is considering asking for more industry feedback on changes it is proposing on Alliant.

Jim Ghiloni, GSA's Alliant project manager, said that the agency may release requests for information, which are formal solicitations for feedback, or use other means to gather information. The agency is looking for feedback on business opportunities for midsize companies, the functional services areas proposed in the contract and security issues. Ghiloni spoke with Washington Technology after making a presentation on governmentwide acquisition vehicles and the Alliant program to members of industry at the TeleStrategies Federal Networks 2006 conference.

[imgcap(2)]Business opportunities specifically for midsize businesses is "one of the issues that has been most asked about," said Ghiloni, who in November became project manager for Alliant. "We made a lot of changes, not only in strategy, but just the way we're approaching the RFPs."

Responses are due by March 14 for GSA's Satcom II contract for commercial, worldwide satellite communications. The five-year program worth about $750 million will replace satellite services contracts that expired in January, although agencies still can issue task orders through the end of 2006 and procure satellite services through other contracts, including FTS2001. GSA will issue awards in the summer.

Also this spring, GSA will issue a draft request for proposal for its $1.8 billion follow-on contract for local telecom and data services in the Washington metropolitan area.

Responses for the Washington Interagency Telecommunications System 3 program (WITS 3) will be due a month after the issuance date. GSA will issue the final RFP in early summer with proposals due 90 days later.

The eight-year WITS 3 contract will replace the current WITS2001 program that expires in January 2008. Awards are planned for summer 2007.

The agency also must replace several other regional contracts, for voice and data services for government agencies, that expire this year and in 2007.

Staff Writer Roseanne Gerin can be reached at

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