Coast Guard divides vessel tracking project

The Coast Guard has decided to split into two phases and to initially focus on three geographic sectors in its upcoming Nationwide Automatic Identification System Increment 2 procurement starting in November.

The request for proposals for Increment 2's first phase is expected to be released in November, the Coast Guard said in a notice on its Web site. The award is expected in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.

The nationwide system to identify vessels is intended to help ships avoid collisions and ease congestion. The data also will be shared with command and control centers for maritime situational awareness, providing real-time ability to track vessels deemed to be threats.

The first phase of Increment 2 will be offered under full and open competition, and the Homeland Security Department's Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge contract vehicle will not be used, the Coast Guard said.

The agency will award a single contract to design, test and implement the national system to reach initial operating capability. That initial operating capability will be addressed in three geographic sectors: Delaware Bay, Hampton Roads, Va., and Mobile, Ala., the Coast Guard said.

In the second phase, the Coast Guard intends to use multiple-award contracts to implement the system at remote sites to facilitate nationwide coverage.

Industry sources have estimated the value of the contract at $165 million to $200 million. Federal contractors, including representatives from Boeing Co., General Dynamics Corp., L-3 Communications Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Raytheon Co. and Science Applications International Corp. participated in an Industry Day in January.

The NAIS is perceived as a possible steppingstone to larger Coast Guard projects, especially Command 2010 to update command and control systems.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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