In Praise of DOD Modernization

In my recent discussions with Elizabeth Sikorovsky regarding the size of the High-Performance Computing Modernization solicitation/proposal, we did not discuss many of the reasons for its large size.

Readers of the resulting article, "Nichols Research captures $159 million DOD modernization pact" [FCW, May 6], might conclude from my quoted remark that the government did not use a streamlined procurement process and, in so doing, put them in an unfavorable light.

My comments, however, were directly opposite of this, and I think the Information Systems Selection and Acquisition Agency did an outstanding job in evaluating and awarding a very complex and detailed contract.

The nature of the procurement forced it to be larger than many others due to the complexity and definite requirements relating to the establishment and maintenance of a major computer facility. The proposal contained many details normally not required because specific hardware must be defined for four different functional areas. There was also a requirement to provide a near-term solution, followed by a solution three times as powerful a year later and then another solution three and a third times as powerful again two years after that. The program included programming environment and training, support infrastructure, site preparation, systems installation and testing, and hardware and software maintenance.

I think the government did an excellent job in this procurement, and I would recommend that the same process and procurement procedures be used on all integration contracts.

The government personnel associated with this procurement made significant sacrifices to serve their country, including many hours of uncompensated overtime and long separations from families. If you have an opportunity to give credit to these people, I would be deeply appreciative.

Michael Solley

Corporate Vice President for Computer Systems

Nichols Research Corp.


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