DISA touts SETI for small business contracts

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The Defense Information Systems Agency wants to be the Defense Department's go-to when it comes to innovative IT contracts and hopes its latest success with the $7.5 billion Systems Engineering, Technology and Innovation contract vehicle for small businesses, wins them over.

DISA's technology and innovation contracting team recently received the Verdure Award from the Defense Department's Small Business Vanguard Awards Program, which aims to reward streamlined procurement with small businesses, for its work on the SETI contract.

SETI is part of DISA's effort to consolidate its IT services and has a $7.5 billion ceiling with separate tracks for large and small businesses. SETI has been billed as a more flexible option for commodity IT services like systems engineering, architecture, and test and evaluation.

Carlen Capenos, DISA's director for small business programs, told reporters Oct. 9 the award leads to more DOD use of the SETI contracting vehicle. "I'm hoping the DOD will just use our contracts since it has a large capability, a large capacity, and a 10-year lifecycle at this point," she said.

Christopher Gray, DISA's head of defense IT contracting in the National Capital Region said he hopes to "prove out these innovative acquisition methodologies" used in the program the over the next six months.

"We want to show people that there is a more efficient manner to get these emerging technologies and innovative solutions on contracts" under SETI, Gray said. "We can't continue to accept the status quo [of] six months plus to get a requirement under contract."

Moreover, DISA is hoping the contracting mechanism can be ultimately used for system sustainment.

"Something that we've seen in the department for many, many years is developmental task orders that have a never ending lifespan" with multiple re-awards, said Christopher Riley, SETI's program manager.

"When these engineering developmental life cycle task orders move successfully into integration, off of SETI into an operation and sustainment world, that means we've done it the right way."

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.

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