AKO angst

The Army received bids April 1 for the Army Knowledge Online Enterprise Services contract that the Interceptors calculated to be worth $602 million, and we're curious about the bidders. But the Army will not disclose the identity of the teams.

"The info on teaming arrangements is acquisition-sensitive and not for release," said Dean Sprague, a public affairs officer in the Army's Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems.

The Interceptors pondered a Freedom of Information Act request for the names but backed off once we found a willing leaker. We think public disclosure of the teams is germane, because we hear two of the bidders have been romancing each other for months.

One of the Interceptors' sources said the AKO bidding teams are CherryRoad Technologies, the current operator of the Web portal, partnered with Northrop Grumman; Booz Allen Hamilton; a Boeing and EDS combo; and Lockheed Martin, which disclosed its bid and team in February.

If CherryRoad wins the AKO contract, we hear that's a rich enough dowry for Northrop Grumman to buy the company. Northrop Grumman and CherryRoad would not reveal their teaming arrangements.

Spook facility update

It looks like the new $250 million facility to house John Negroponte, the first intelligence czar; Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, Negroponte's deputy and current National Security Agency director; and up to 800 employees could be headed for the Liberty Crossing development in Tysons Corner, Va.

Based on our experience, traffic in the Tysons Corner area is often mired in a jam, so we hope Negroponte and Hayden have a chopper to get them to and from the White House and government agencies.

We suggest that they check building sites here at Federal Computer Week headquarters in Falls Church, Va., where there is a lot of room to build an intell palace with handy access to the Beltway, U.S. Route 50 and Interstate 66 — not to mention the ambiance of lunching at the famed Salmon Run.

NSA also needs new facilities and will soon develop a Texas twang. The agency, which is running out of room at its Fort Meade, Md., headquarters, with about 30,000 employees, bought an old Sony chip plant in San Antonio and plans to hire as many as 4,500 employees for that facility, with a job fair scheduled for May 4 at the San Antonio Omni Hotel.

Finally, it looks like Defense Intelligence Agency does not want to be left behind in this intell agency real estate race. We recently drove by the Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. — home of the famed DIA "Darth Vader" headquarters building — and could not help noticing the start of construction of a mini-Vader building next door.

FOSE PR smokescreen

We always have our antennas up around FOSE time for overhyped public relations, and this year's FOSE "Old Wine In New Bottles Award" goes to PR powerhouse Hill and Knowlton for an attempt to turn an old Air Force PC contract award to Hewlett-Packard into a FOSE-related news event.

Hill and Knowlton issued a press release for HP April 6 saying the company "has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Air Force to provide desktop PCs, notebooks and servers under the provisions of an Air Force information technology strategy designed to reshape asset management and reduce total cost of technology ownership for the department."

Some government computer news publications fell for the bait, but not the Interceptors. The Air Force awarded the blanket purchase agreements in December to HP, Dell, Gateway, MPC, iGov, Westwood Computer and NCS Information Systems.

An Air Force spokesman said, "The BPA was awarded late last year. Don't know why the late release on the release." We do.

Size does matter

SGI officials can now say, for the moment, that they hold the title for building and delivering the most powerful supercomputer in the military.

We hear SGI officials will announce April 25 that they recently delivered and installed a new, massive supercomputer for weapon system design. And it runs Linux.

In the yearly battle to hold the distinction for building the biggest supercomputer for the Pentagon, expect Linux Network officials to announce in a couple of months that they delivered a supercomputer to the military that is larger and faster than SGI's computer.

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