It's a cryin' shame

Nick Wakeman

When I saw the news that GTSI Corp. and World Wide Technology Inc. had won the small-business contracts under the Army's Information Technology Solutions Enterprise 2 Hardware program, I had to scratch my head.

Was that a misprint? World Wide had recently announced that it reached $2 billion in annual revenue. GTSI, although it has struggled in recent years, still has more than $700 million in annual revenue.

As Associate Editor Michael Hardy explains in his story on the contract on Page 20, the companies followed the parameters described in the contract solicitation, so you can't fault them.

But the Army's a different story. It did a little code shopping. It picked the North American Industry Classification System code for wired telecommunications carriers. That code defines a small business as one with fewer than 1,500 employees. GTSI and World Wide fall below that threshold and are considered small businesses under that code.

The issue ? and yes, there should be some outrage ? is that Army picked that code. Hardy explains its rationale: The Army wants to use the contract to build a network infrastructure. The wired telecom carriers code also has a higher threshold for small business than other codes the Army could have chosen, so the broadest possible range of companies would be allowed to bid.

But there are a lot of much smaller companies that, with the help of some good partners, could likely do everything the Army needs.

They've missed their chance, and that's a shame.

EDITOR | Nick Wakeman

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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