DISA net contracts kept in the shadows

Vendors are busy jostling for position on the Defense Department's $886 million Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE) program.

The program is one of the most watched DOD information technology programs and a critical piece of the agency's concept of network-centric operations.

About 140 companies attended the GIG-BE program bidders conference last October. One industry official who participated in the daylong event said, "Every company in the beaten-down telecommunications sector attended to see if they could play in this game."

No more than nine vendors can win contracts in the $500 million GIG-BE fiber portion, which the Defense Information Systems Agency will award soon. DISA will follow up the fiber deal with the $386 million GIG-BE equipment contracts awards in December.

GIG-BE is DOD's bandwidth World Series — an $886 million initiative to build a fast, secure, ubiquitous optical network based on IP. It will connect 100 sites worldwide so warfighters and analysts can post and access intelligence and data more quickly.

"There's some politics in awarding the contracts before the end of the year because that's when companies file profit and loss statements," an industry official said. His company's GIG-BE equipment proposal was rejected.

As of Sept. 17, DISA had not awarded GIG-BE fiber or equipment contracts, according to an agency spokeswoman.

DISA officials, however, have started informing companies that they are no longer under consideration for fiber and equipment contracts, said John Stenbit, DOD chief information officer, in an interview at the Air Force Information Technology Conference held Aug. 25 to 28 in Montgomery, Ala.

DISA still will not publicly release the name of GIG-BE fiber contract awardees, "because it would draw attention to the specific vendors and the specific locations they are conducting work," according to the DISA spokeswoman.

GIG-BE fiber contract negotiations took three courses, the industry official said. DOD officials asked to lease companies' fiber first for 25 years and then for 10 years, which officials favored, or finally to buy it, which industry officials preferred so that they could recoup their huge losses when bandwidth reached surplus amounts, the official said.


Widening the pipes

Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion equipment consists of four categories. They are:

Long-haul optics: Cable that transmits light signals over great distances.

Optical crossconnecting: Switches that join routers.

Multiservice provisioning platforms: Devices that turn off switches and regulate voice, video and data traffic.

Routers: Core and edge hardware that sends and receives information.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group