NMCI gains momentum
- By Bill Murray
- Nov 12, 2000
At least one management head-ache is out of the way. Despite spending millions
of dollars on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet procurement, none of the three
losing bidders protested the Navy's Oct. 6 award to Electronic Data Systems
The protest deadline passed late last month without a filing from IBM
Corp., Computer Sciences Corp. or General Dynamics Corp., said Jennifer
McGraw, a spokeswoman for the Navy Program Executive Office for Information
Technology, which manages NMCI.
There was no real motivation for the losing vendors to protest the award,
according to an industry official, who requested anonymity. They couldn't
beat EDS on price or on the benefits package EDS is offering civilian employees
who accept jobs with the company.
Employees will receive a signing bonus plus three years of guaranteed
employment, said Ron Turner, the Navy's deputy chief information officer
for infrastructure, systems and technology.
NMCI would have seemed prone to protest in part because of the high
bidding costs associated with it. But today, vendor protests rarely overturn
contract awards, procurement reform makes it easier for agencies to give
protest-proof awards from existing contracts, and agency officials have
become increasingly irritated at protests.
Over the past four years, the number of protests has gone down, since
the General Accounting Office took over from the General Services Administration's
Board of Contract Appeals as the ultimate arbiter. "Who are you going to
protest to — the GAO?" asked Robert Guerra, president of Robert J. Guerra
and Associates, Oakton, Va. "Protests don't go anywhere these days, and
they cost a lot of money."