GTE nabs $200M networking pact

In a move that surprised the information technology vendor community, the Justice Department last month named GTE Government Systems Corp. the apparent winner of an estimated $200 million office automation contract.

GTE topped five other vendors to win the seven-year Justice Consolidated Office Network (JCON) pact, which includes an array of services, such as planning, installation, integration and support for almost all of DOJ's office networks.

GTE bested BDM International Inc., CACI International Inc. and Computer Sciences Corp., three vendors industry observers considered top contenders for the prize. Other competitors included Lockheed Martin Corp. and Harris Corp.

"This [award] came out of nowhere," said an executive of one of the losing firms.

Before GTE is formally awarded the pact, the company must meet a set of benchmark tests, which most observers believe it will pass. The company has until Feb. 10 to prove to an independent auditor that it can meet the requirements.

DOJ and GTE officials declined to comment on the award until after GTE completes the tests. Executives with the unsuccessful bidders also refused to speculate on GTE's success, saying they may file a protest against the award.

Becoming a `Major Player'

GTE's apparent victory ends a three-year battle for a contract to supply computing services to about 30,000 DOJ users nationwide.

As a total systems contract—which is becoming rare, as agencies split the services and integration components of contracts—JCON is viewed by contractors as a vehicle to become the primary IT vendor for DOJ.

"The idea is that JCON is the chance [for a vendor] to be the major player at Justice," said Mary Ann Hirsch, director of federal market analysis for Federal Sources Inc. "JCON is everything."

The estimated $200 million value of JCON, which is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, could climb because the delegation of procurement authority is for $400 million to $600 million.

Also included in the DPA total are funds for a separate contract, called the Justice Commodities Contract (JCC), for desktop and portable workstations and peripherals. JCC, which will most likely have multiple awards, is estimated to be worth $75 million and should be awarded next year.

The potential for increasing the contract "is what convinced vendors to hang in for so long," Hirsch said.

JCON includes planning, installation, cabling and integration of networks and communications hardware and software, including security. A primary service will be to provide electronic mail to more than 100,000 users governmentwide.

A Mega-Contract

JCON, with JCC, is a mega-contract that will replace the Amicus II and Project Eagle contracts and the Antitrust Division's Wang VS system.

Amicus II and Project Eagle were awarded to Tisoft Inc., which did not bid on JCON. Tisoft officials could not be reached for comment. Wang was the prime contractor for the Antitrust Division.

Under JCON, GTE must develop and install local-area networks that are customized for each DOJ division.

"There will, in the end, be no monolithic, departmentwide JCON system...[that] shares all computing resources," JCON's request for proposals said.


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