A truly rousing Encore (II)
The Interceptor has been puzzled about why the Defense Information Systems Agency postponed the award of a $12.2 billion Encore II contract until at least June 30, 2007. DISA had planned to award the contract in March this year.

A fan in Intercepts land has a likely explanation for the delay, which is that DISA received an overwhelming volume of replies to the huge services contract.

The source — who, like anyone else who enters the Intercepts booth, will remain anonymous — said that about 70 to 75 bidders responded to the Encore II request for proposals and that it will take the folks in the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO) a long time to sift through each bid submission, especially because the size of each submission rivals that of the Manhattan phone book.

About 25 large businesses, which is every sizable integrator inside the Capital Beltway, submitted bids for Encore II, I’m told, along with more than 50 small businesses. Why? They took a look at the amount of work done on Encore I, and they decided the follow-on was a must-bid.

Last August, DISA raised the ceiling on Encore I from $2 billion to $2.5 billion to cover orders that come in before Encore II is in place. I’m told that the Encore I contract holders — Analytical Services, Computer Sciences Corp., EDS, Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, Pragmatics, TranTech and Unisys — have agreed to extend current pricing until DISA awards Encore II.

DISA has said it intends to award Encore II in pieces, one under full and open competition and one to small businesses. Insiders are betting that the full and open awards to the big guys will occur first.

Final fugue
I’m told that DITCO has weeded out some of the Encore II small-business bidders as noncompliant with terms of the RFP. That did not sit well with some of the weeded-out bidders, and at least one filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office, according to the folks at the DISA image therapy department.

DISA said KPG Global Enterprises in Fishers, Ind., filed a protest with GAO but later told the DITCO legal team it planned to withdraw the protest. So far the folks at KPG Global have not returned a call from Intercepts Central, but they might simply be busy preparing for the Fishers Renaissance Faire or grooving along with John Fogerty and Willie Nelson at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in nearby Noblesville, Ind.

DATS all, folks
DISA is holding final discussions with bidders for a $3 billion circuits buy that will extend from and connect to the fiber Global Information Grid. Looks as though the agency has cut some wannabees for Defense Information Systems Network Access Transport Services contract from those discussions. DITCO said in the latest amendment — that’s No. 24 — it will hold discussions only with offerors that received letters requesting final proposal revisions.

Druyun’s legacy lives
The fallout from Darleen Druyun’s tour as Air Force acquisition czar back in the last century continues. Druyun, who went to the slammer for a short time in 2004 for showing favoritism to Boeing, also looked kindly on Andersen Consulting in its bid for the Air Force Financial Information Resource System (FIRST) contract during her reign, according to a Defense Department IG audit report released this month.

The IG said that despite the Source Selection Advisory Council’s finding that Andersen’s past performance was somewhat wanting, Druyun changed that rating from “confidence” to “significant confidence” and “chose to ignore poor performance when justifying the award to Andersen.”

As of March, the IG said the Air Force has spent $63.8 million on FIRST. Let’s hope the process improvements built into the contract’s budgeting modules will help avoid such problems in the future.

Sacred cell towers?
Few things are sacred or untouchable in the current Israel/Lebanon fracas except cell phone towers, which have apparently been left unscathed by both sides.

That’s the view of Steven Douglas, national government account manager for CellHire, which sells and rents satellite and cell phones, most of which are designed to operate on the GSM standard used in Israel and Lebanon. Douglas said CellHire’s large customer pool would quickly report a GSM network outage, but as of last week, the company had received no reports of outages in Israel or Lebanon.

Douglas surmised that both sides have left the cell towers alone because each uses the networks. Guess a good place to hang out in that war zone is at the base of a cell phone tower.

BlackBerry bandits
I know everyone who carries a BlackBerry is a master of the universe, exempt from most rules and manners. But, I wonder, am I the only guy who gets steamed when one of those mini-keyboard wizards continues to type during and after the flight attendant asks everyone to turn off all cell phones and paging devices?

If you are irked about the behavior, send me a note along with suggested corrective action. I personally favor midair ejection.

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