Oh my gosh, DISA left Microsoft off NCES; A really long wait for an Encore; DATS coming in September; Disappearing history; Standard Procurement System testing emergency?; Oops, I goofed; Dover base in pursuit of trivia

Oh my gosh, DISA left Microsoft off NCES
We received a series of calls at Intercepts Central last week from more than one concerned collaboration tool vendor that the Defense Information Systems Agency had quietly decided to award its entire Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) collaboration tool contract to IBM and forget about a second award it had promised to make.

The Interceptor thinks he managed to trace the source of those panicked calls: a sales force at Microsoft’s federal division that simply could not believe DISA would choose Big Blue instead of them.

Relax, guys. My sources at Courthouse Road tell me that DISA Director Lt. Gen. Charles Croom wants DOD users to have two choices for collaboration tools on their desktop PCs. The agency will make a second award.

Microsoft is not the only company the NCES award left hanging, but others seem to be taking it more calmly. DISA tapped WebEx Communications, for example, for its tool pilot in 2005, but the company did not make the first cut this time. When I called them, they offered the standard, low-key “no comment.”

A really long wait for an Encore
Usually an encore comes immediately after a scheduled performance. But in the case of DISA’s $13 billion Encore II contract, it’s going to be a long wait between the submission of proposals and an award.

Bids were due this April on the catchall services contract, and DISA said it won’t make an award until June 2007. “Why?” I’ve been asking DISA like a 4-year-old. I have not received an answer.

In another interesting twist, at the end of last month — well after the Encore II procurement closed — DISA issued an amendment that states that the agency reserves the right to make the contract awards under full and open competition or small-business set-aside provisions once the evaluations are complete for the proposals submitted under one of those categories.

Anyone have any insight into this strange amendment? Please give me a holler. Sometimes, trying to figure out what DISA is doing is like being an old-fashioned Kremlinologist.

DATS coming in September
A DISA spokesman told us the agency’s long-awaited megabillion-dollar circuit buy for extending the Global Information Grid — called the Defense Information Systems Network Access Transport Services (DATS) contract — will see the light of day by the end of September.

We hear that bid teams from all the major carriers will spend much of this week fine-tuning their proposals, with best-and-final offers due July 28.

Disappearing history
Retired Rear Adm. Paul Tobin, director of the Naval Historical Center, invited me to his shop at the Navy Yard for a tour last week and showed me how he is fighting a rear guard battle to save important parts of the Navy’s history.

The center has stored years of Navy messages on microfilm that has now started to deteriorate with age. Tobin needs the funding and the means to store those invaluable records on a digital medium that will last for ages.

This effort would make a great — and necessary — pro bono project. If we ignore the past, we may make the same mistakes in the future.

Standard Procurement System testing emergency?
The Army Information Technology, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center released a practically breathless solicitation last week to satisfy an urgent requirement for testing support for a major Defense Department IT program, the Standard Procurement System.

The Interceptor has a hard time understanding the urgent need for SPS testing, but that solicitation could be a good opportunity for anyone who has a bunch of Bunsen burners they can quickly fire up. By the way, the center said this award could be a small-business set-aside.

Oops, I goofed
I reported last week that the Army Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems planned to release its $5 billion IT Enterprise Solutions-2 Hardware contract request for proposals this week. If I had read my own clips, I would have realized that was wrong. PEO-EIS intends to award the contract next month. A May 29 contract modification reduced the value from $10 billion to $5 billion.

Dover base in pursuit of trivia
Some people consider this column a collection of odd bits of trivia, so it’s fitting to end on such a note. The Air Mobility Command is looking to provide the employees and materials necessary to support a twice-a-month trivia competition at the Dover Air Force Base, Del., community recreation center.

That’s not all, folks. They want a trivia competition with music, but they don’t specify the type of music. I vote for the great Smithsonian Institution collection of Glenn Miller and the Army Air Force Band.

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