Navtip goes for COTS buy

More than a year after issuing its first draft solicitation for a $2.4 billion telecommunications infrastructure buy, the Navy this month plans to release a revised version focusing less on voice and more on data services supporting the Defense Message System.

The Naval Telecommunications Infrastructure Project (Navtip) will purchase commercial off-the-shelf products and services for switching, wiring, videoconferencing and computer telephony.

Esther Scarborough, the Navtip contracting officer and project manager, said Navy procurement personnel divided the country into three regions—Western, Northeast and Southeast—and will award contracts to two vendors in each region.

Scarborough said the planned revision will mark a substantial change to the previous Navtip strategy, which "leaned about 75 percent to voice" services.

"The revision will, hopefully support video, voice and data," she said.

Navy will conduct the procurement in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act regulations guiding multiple awards.

Scarborough said exceptions will be allowed only for task orders worth less than $2,500, in instances of extreme urgency, for follow-on orders to previous deliveries or when only one vendor can meet a specific requirement.

Scarborough estimated that 75 percent of Navtip business would be competed among the winning contractors.

Scarborough told an industry group at last month's Telestrategies Federal Telecommunications Conference that she hoped to issue a final request for proposals for NAVTIP by December and award contracts by September 1997.

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