Guerra: Drop the protest

With the nation at war, companies' AKO protestors are wasting time

I can't find the words to express how disappointed I am that our community can't put selfish, parochial financial interests behind it over the pending Army Knowledge Online (AKO) protest. As Army Maj. Gen. Denny Moran reminded us at a recent AFCEA International Army information technology conference, we are a nation at war, and our primary obligation is to

support our warfighters.

The government has been paying tens of millions of dollars for what was essentially secure Internet and e-mail access under the AKO Web portal. That made a great deal of sense since AKO began as a shoestring effort to figure out what it meant to our nation's defense.

It also seemed appropriate because warfighters could use it to stay in communications with their families at home. The resulting improved morale may be worth the cost of the Web portal.

As a result of the hard work of some talented people, we now understand how much AKO can contribute to the Army's effectiveness, and it's time to get moving forward in that context.

We are now ready to move toward that network-centric, knowledge-based force the visionaries of AKO described in the AKO Enterprise Services procurement.

So why am I disappointed? Isn't the integrity of the acquisition process of paramount importance? Sure it is.

If that were what is at stake here and not the efficiency of our Army, I would support an inquiry. But the integrity of the process is not at all threatened.

From what we have heard, the protests are a matter of interpretation and evaluation. One company thinks that is is better equipped to evaluate what the Army's needs than the Army is to evaluate itself. That's an interesting approach.

Having handled many bids myself, I agree that every time my company lost, the government must have made a mistake. On the other hand, when we won, the government clearly understood that my company was best equipped to meet its needs.

The other protest, "on reason and belief," is a matter of interpretation at best, and certainly not a legitimate reason to delay a program that has so much promise in improving our Army's efficiency.

The main difference between AKO and other procurements is urgency. We are at war today. Kids are fighting and dying. AKO has the potential to improve our warfighting efficiency and save lives now. That is what is of paramount importance about moving AKO forward, and why these protests need to go away.

There is just too much at stake here to waste any more time.

By the way, there's no law against withdrawing a protest.

Guerra is a partner at the government technology consulting company Guerra, Kiviat, Flyzik and Associates. He can be reached at

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.


  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

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