ATF seeking wireless iPass system proposals

The Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has announced plans to field a nationwide wireless broadband telecommunications and Web portal. The agency said in a procurement notice issued this week that it seeks to award a contract by November for a wireless system based on technology from iPass.

The agency stated in a notice on FedBizOpps government acquisition system that it plans to solicit proposals for the system around Aug. 7. ATF seeks to purchase a system that would support thousands of agency employees.

ATF stated its requirements for the planned system: "The Web portal shall support law enforcement activities, a collaborative work environment, remote access to databases and software, surveillance and streaming video applications over an integrated wireless infrastructure encompassing a broad spectrum of wireless devices and a secure e-mail system using iPass Mobile Systems software and products."

The bureau's announced choice of the iPass technology for broadband Web service appeared to raise questions as to how ATF's planned system would link with secure law enforcement networks and databases. The agency's technology staff this week reviewed inquiries about how the its planned Web service acquisition would maintain security and mesh with other federal, state and local law enforcement networks and databases.

ATF plans to issue a fixed-price contract with one base year and four option years, according to the notice.

The bureau said in the notice that it expects to purchase maintenance and support services to go along with the wireless Web portal, all on an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity basis. The IDIQ acquisition approach assures that a federal agency using the method will not be bound to purchase any minimum amount of goods and services.

The ATF announcement specified that "the solution provided must provide nationwide wireless broadband connectivity within 30 days after award for up to 5,000 personnel and an operative integrated portal solution within 90 days of contract award using the iPASS software and systems."

Wilson P. Dizard III writes for Government Computer News, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

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