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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

AT&T chalks up another big intell win

AT&T may need to start marketing itself as the prime provider of IT and communications services to the intelligence community.

Last year, it bested DXC Technology (since merged with Vencore to create Perspecta) for a $2.5 billion enterprise IT services contract with the National Security Agency.

Now, it is the winner of contract with the National Reconnaissance Office for IT network services as part of a program known as "Broadside." The value of that contract has not been disclosed.

For both contracts, AT&T faced protests from other bidders. In the case of the NSA contract, Enterprise Services (DXC’s then-U.S. public sector business) lost at protest.

And in the case of the NRO contract, Peraton was the protestor. GAO denied that protest and released the decision on Broadside last week.

With the Broadside program, NRO sought to consolidate several prevoius contracts into a single vehicle. NRO wanted to move away from day-to-day integration and management responsibilities and turn those over to a contractor.

Broadside has two phases. In phase one, AT&T will take over the “as-is” state of the NRO’s networks. In phase 2, AT&T will upgrade and modernize the network infrastructure for a transition to manage service provider model.

Peraton objected to how its proposal was evaluated and complained that some of its lower scores were unjustified.

The exact pricing isn’t disclosed in the GAO decision but Peraton is described as having the lower priced bid. But the NRO source selection authority felt that the advantages they saw in AT&T’s bid outweighed the Peraton’s cost advantage.

Several sections of the protest are blacked out, but Peraton’s proposal was dinged because it lacked enough detail in critical areas, such as firewalls, how Secret data will be transported, or how a new network will be secured.

The protest decision also describes how Peraton proposed holding strategy meetings for the program, but they didn’t say that the Broadside program management office would be involved. They were assigned a weakness for this.

Peraton argued that the solicitation didn’t require the strategy meetings be coordinated with the Broadside PMO. But the company also told GAO they never said they wouldn’t include the PMO.

The protest decision is a lengthy one at 24 pages and there are other arguments that Peraton makes but none persuaded GAO.

There is a discussion about how NRO's source selection authority looked at the different strengths of weaknesses of the bids. The document has a matrix laying out them out for each company.

Peraton argued that they should have had the higher rated proposal because AT&T was assigned three major weaknesses to Peraton’s single major weakness. But the matrix also shows that Peraton had 13 minor weaknesses to AT&T’s four minors weaknesses.

AT&T also had no major strengths while Peraton had one. But AT&T had 12 minor strengths to Peraton’s eight minor strengths.

But all strengths and weakness are not equal. Some carry more weight than others and that is what tipped the scale in AT&T’s favor, despite higher price.

With the bid protest behind it, AT&T is now moving forward on the Broadside program.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jun 27, 2019 at 2:10 PM

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