When you think of military healthcare, you might picture MASH doctors performing surgery on wounded soldiers. Or you might picture a US soldier injured by an IED being rehabilitated in a hospital state-side.
You probably don’t think of computers, networks and Web sites. But modern healthcare, whether military or civilian, depends on information technology for all of the advanced medical technology to work together seamlessly.
To procure military IT, the US Department of Defense developed a contract vehicle called the Defense Medical Information Systems/Systems Integration, Design, Development, Operations and Maintenance Services (D/SIDDOMS 3) contract. Just rolls off the tongue, don’t it.
While hardly Shakespeare, the contract vehicle enables US military services and the US Department of Veterans Affairs to buy medical IT equipment and services through task orders from a group of eager contractors operating under an $8 billion contract ceiling…
Apptis in Chantilly, VA won a $132.9 million time and material task order to provide management, engineering, integration and acquisition of U.S. Army command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) systems worldwide. Apptis will provide the systems to the Command Center Upgrades/Special Projects Office, which is part of Team Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems (TEAM DCATS). Work is to be determined by mission requirements with an estimated completion date of June 30/11. For the contract, 16 bids were solicited and 3 bids received by Army Contracting Command in Alexandria, VA.
Located at Fort Monmouth, NJ, TEAM DCATS manages more than 100 projects that support soldiers, major commands and combatant commanders worldwide. Projects include strategic satellite communications and wideband control systems, long-haul terrestrial microwave and fiber optic communications systems, tech control facilities, Combat Service Support Communications systems, critical power infrastructure, command center upgrades, base radios and combat vehicle intercom systems.
Governments like umbrella “multiple award” contracts that let them deal with specific areas on set terms. It cuts administrative overhead costs, creates known pools of familiar competitors, and shortens the gap between requests and service. Hence the US Army’s recent announcement of their $497 million Biometrics Operations and Support Services Unrestricted (BOSS-U) multiple award contract awards, run by the Information Technology, E-commerce and Commercial Contracting Center (ITEC4) on behalf of the Biometrics Task Force.
The opportunity was initially announced on May 23/08, and proposals from 12 offerors were received by the closing date of Aug 18/08. The winners were announced in late December 2008, and include:
Back in August 2005, we noted that “ENCORE I.T. Contracts Raise Ceiling to $2.5B Until ENCORE II Arrives.” Services under ENCORE II will include high level enterprise IT policy, integration management, communications engineering, and asset management. According to the Encore II RFP, DISA intends to use the contract to support users in the military services and agencies as they transition from legacy systems to Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES), which embodies the new techno-organizational opportunities described above. Encore II will help them effectively use core NCES product lines, including collaboration and discovery tools, and a planned joint services knowledge portal. That’s the vision, anyway. In January 2006, we followed that up with “Pentagon’s $13 Bn “Encore II” RFP Gets Revised, Extended,” explaining the ENCORE vision, its origins, and its likely obstacles.
That wait ended on Jan 31/07, when 6 companies received indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity multiple-awards contracts. They include provisions for Firm, Fixed-Price, Time-and-Materials or Labor-Hour and Cost-Reimbursement (CPFF, CPAF, etc), and will run from March 12/07 through March 11/17. The maximum not-to-exceed value for the ENCORE II contract over a 5-year period, plus its 5 one-year option periods, is $12.225 billion. This is slightly less than the $13 billion projected. Performance will be at various locations within the Continental United States (CONUS), and also outside the CONUS (OCONUS), and each task order issued will be opened to competition among the ENCORE-II winners.
The solicitation was issued as a full and open competitive action with 16 large firm proposals received – but the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization DITCO) at Scott AFB, IL picked just 6 large firm winners with small business awards to follow. Whereupon, the protests began. Now, the small business roster has been added, and the large business roster has been expanded…
As of July 2007, Raytheon Technical Services held the US Army contract for live training support, Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) carries the contract for virtual training (simulators), and General Dynamics the one for constructive training (computer models & game-like simulations). More than 3,400 contractors served more than 150 manned sites and 458 unmanned sites with training devices world-wide.
The U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office, Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI) office has been working for the last couple of years on a new approach that does away with the 3 domains, in order to put the full focus on delivering whatever training support is needed and appropriate, in whatever manner works best. The Warfighter Field Operations Customer Support (Warfighter FOCUS) contract would consolidate operations, maintenance, systems integration and engineering support services for the Army’s live, virtual and constructive training systems into a single 10-year, $11-12 billion package once existing contracts expire on Oct 31/07.
On one side was the Warrior Training Alliance (WTA), led by prime contractor Raytheon Technical Services Company LLC and Computer Sciences Corporation. One the other side was the Warfighter FOCUS Alliance (WFA), led by General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Saab. Each team had a roster that included other major and minor players, and DID details both teams below. The winner was the Raytheon-led WTA, and integration is now proceeding…
FORTUNE Magazine has released its annual list of America’s Most Admired Companies, and a number of defense-related firms find themselves noted in the data. To quote FORTUNE re: their methodology:
“The Most Admired list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations. Our survey partners at Hay Group started with the FORTUNE 1,000 – the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue – and the top foreign ones operating in the U.S. Hay sorted them by industry and selected the ten largest in each. To create the 63 industry lists, Hay asked executives, directors, and analysts to rate companies in their own industry on eight criteria, from investment value to social responsibility. Only the best are listed as most admired: A company’s score must rank in the top half of its industry survey. Ranks for the rest of the contenders are available online only.”
The criteria evidently managed to completely exclude key global defense & aerospace players with notable US businesses/revenues, including BAE Systems and EADS (which includes Airbus & Eurocopter). This is a major pair of omissions, to say the least. Methodology flaws aside, firms that made the cut in their sectors and do a lot of work in our industry – or were on the receiving end of cutting ratings – included:
Back in March 2005, DID noted that the US Army had narrowed the field for its $20 billion ITES-2 IT contract to 17 potential prime contractors. At the time, we also noted the Army’s plan to issue the formal RFP in May 2005. Later, in April 2005, DID covered Kevin Carroll, “the $36 billion man” who leads the office in charge of ITES and ITES-2 as the Army pursued its vision of a major long-term contract vehicle for a wide range of information technology and computing services.
In September 2005, the U.S. Army released its RFP for its $20 billion Information Technology Enterprise Solutions-2 Services program via the Army Small Computer Program, the Army Contracting Agency, and the Information Technology, E-Commerce, and Commercial Contracting Center. After that, things didn’t go as well. A major kerfuffle and 2 rounds of GAO protests followed the award, which led to a revised list of winners in November 2006.
They’ve also just announced the selection of 29 firms for award under the maximum $50 billion Alliant Governmentwide Acquisition Contract. The Alliant umbrella contract provides all US federal government agencies, including the Pentagon, with a centralized source to acquire integrated Information Technology (IT) solutions worldwide. The contract has a 5-year base period with a 5-year option period, and replaces two similar contracts set to expire: Millenia, and ANSWER (Applications ‘N Support for Widely diverse End user Requirements)…
In February 2006, “Small Businesses Succeeding As USAF’s $9B NetCents Contract Receives Promo Push” shone a spotlight on the Network Centric Solutions (NETCENTS) program. Recently, a Northrop Grumman-led team received a large NETCENTS award – a maximum $267 million task order from the US Army to develop Defense Knowledge Online (DKO). The Army already has its own Army Knowledge Online (AKO) system; DKO is envisioned as the entry point for all U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and authorized users worldwide to access DoD and government intranets supporting operations, missions and critical support processes. DKO applications will all be provided through a secure, service-oriented framework, as opposed to the standard I.T. approach of stovepiped applications and non-prioritized bandwidth.
This is the largest portal task order ever awarded by the US federal government, and Northrop Grumman’s many teammates on the contract include:
On October 6, 2000, the US Navy awarded a 5-year contract for Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) services to EDS for an estimated 412,000 – 416,000 seats and minimum value of $4.1 billion. The original contract also included a 3-year option for an additional $2.8 billion in services, bringing the potential total contract value to $6.9 billion. Extensions and restructuring have made it a 10-year, $9.3 billion information technology services program. Through a contract that contains numerous performance-based incentives, the Navy is buying network (intranet), application, and other hardware and software services at a fixed price per end user (“seat”) to support about 550 sites. As a form of perspective, for FY 2006 the US Navy’s IT budget was about $5.8 billion, which included funding for the development, operation, and maintenance of Navy-owned IT systems, as well as funding for contractor-provided IT services and programs like NMCI.
The US Government Accountability Office has issued a number of reports during NMCI’s lifetime, some of which have been helpful in refocusing the program. The 2003 report “DOD Needs to Leverage Lessons Learned from Its Outsourcing Projects (GAO-03-371),” which looked at leading commercial outsourcing practices and noted discrepancies, is a good example.
Their December 8, 2006 report “DOD Needs to Ensure That Navy Marine Corps Intranet Program Is Meeting Goals and Satisfying Customers” (GAO-07-51) attempts to match NMCI’s strategic goals to its performance measurements under the contract’s service level agreements (SLAs). The result is a 114-page auditor’s report that will offer readers many useful details about NMCI as a program and identifies some of its shortfalls and challenges, but falls short as an attempt to ascertain NMCI’s broad success or failure. That would require more use of the commercial auditing industry’s growing practice of using industry or project comparables for perspective, and noting leading practices and common pitfalls in order to offer a comparison based on peer as well as internal criteria. It would also assess the initial performance measurements themselves as a subject for inquiry, since it is common practice for understanding of what can and should be measured to change sharply once an intranet is implemented and running. Readers who persevere to the very end of the report, for instance, will find a Navy response that outlines a number of ‘surprise’ spinouts from the NMCI effort. As such, they are unmeasured under the original criteria of the SLAs and could not figure in the GAO’s report. They are nevertheless significant, and represent possible targets for future measurement that could help answer the strategic value question in a more comprehensive way. The GAO report may be found here.