Army officials expect busy spring for IT contracts

The Army plans to award a number of high-value IT procurement contracts within the next four to eight weeks for satellite services, hardware and software and to modernize their infrastructure, according to senior officials.

Industry firms submitted their proposals March 15 for the five-year, $5 billion World-Wide Satellite Systems (WWSS) indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts, which are slated for award this spring. Both Defense Department organizations and non-DOD agencies will be able to order commercial satellite terminals under the contract vehicle.

Kevin Carroll, the program executive officer for Enterprise Information Systems, who spoke last week in Bethesda, Md., at an industry day sponsored by the Army's PEO-EIS and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association-Fort Belvoir chapter, said the Army will award WWSS contracts to six prime contractor vendors, including at least two to small businesses.

"Each prime contractor will be required to provide complete turnkey solutions, including hardware, software, support services, and data," he said.

The WWSS contracts will offer six types of commercial satellite terminals: fixed-station; military-certified; prime mover/trailer-mounted; Combat Service Support Very Small Aperture Terminals (CSS VSATs); flyaway VSATs; and deployable satellite earth terminals. The terminals may be required to operate using any military or commercial satellite in the C, Ku, X, and Ka bands. The Army issued the request for proposal in January.

In mid-April, the Army expects to award ID/IQ contracts to multiple vendors for Information Technology Enterprise Solutions-2 Services. In 2002, the service awarded the first ITES contracts to eight vendors. Carroll admitted later that the contract ceiling was set far too low at $500 million, so the forthcoming ITES-2 contract is pegged at $20 billion over nine years. The Army issued the RFP in August for the contract.

Carroll said the Army plans to issue an RFP May 15 for its second round of ITES-Hardware ID/IQ contracts, which it hopes to award in August. The new ITES-2H contract vehicle will have a ceiling of $10 billion over 10 years.

Installation Modernization (IMOD), which is part of a larger program called Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program (I3MP) is another IT-related procurement contract the Army plans to award at the end of April. It has a $4 billion ceiling.

IMOD will update the fiber-optic cable and wireless communications lines at major Army bases. The service could award up to eight contracts, including several for small businesses. IMOD will replace the Digital Switched Systems Modernization Program contracts, which expire in June 2007.

The service also plans to launch a new round of consolidated, large-quantity computer buys under its Army Desktop and Mobile Computing (ADMC-2) contract vehicle.

The Army awarded the previous ADMC contracts to four large and four small businesses in May 2001. The contract runs out at the end of May. With a ceiling of $5 billion over 10 years, the new ADMC commodity procurements, which will occur twice yearly, cover desktops, notebooks and tablet computers; personal digital assistants; printers; digital cameras; projectors; and peripherals.

Carroll said two other large contract vehicles are in the pipeline for fiscal year 2007: two system integration contracts in the biometrics area (development of "enterprise biometric solutions" is a new PEO-EIS responsibility), and a new ID/IQ contract called Program Manager Support Services-2, which will provide support contractors for PEO-EIS project managers.

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