DEIS II fees to fund training

The Defense Information Systems Agency is putting money and energy behind its stated commitment to train Defense Department users to carry out results-oriented procurements.

Under a plan announced last month DISA plans to use service fees from business booked on its Defense Enterprise Integration Services II contract to create computer-based training on the Internet conduct seminars and otherwise teach DOD customers how to write contracts that focus on the results of a contractor's job not the particulars of how the job is carried out.

Michael J. Mestrovich deputy director for joint requirements analysis and integration at DISA announced the plan in a letter to Steven Kelman administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy who has campaigned for such training throughout government.

"I agree that performance-based contracting will allow contractors to improve and maintain higher levels of performance while realizing significant cost savings for the government " Mestrovich wrote in the letter.

Focus on DII COE

DEIS II is a $3 billion omnibus services program in which six vendors compete for individual task orders. The program is designed for developing fielding and maintaining systems based on DOD's Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment (DII COE).

DISA plans to finance a training program by using a portion of the 2 percent service fee that it charges DEIS II customers.

The focus on DII COE makes results-oriented contracting a natural for DOD said Mary Sloper chief of Defense integration services management at DISA.

"Even under DEIS I that was always our thrust " Sloper said.

"With the concept of performance-based contracting it really falls right into line with that " she added.In fact DISA already got a jump on training before the official policy came down Sloper said. The program office has been putting together statement-of-work "templates" that customers can use to build their own. The templates spell out different standards that might be applied to measure performance and more work might be done in that area Sloper said.

DISA also will consider conducting seminars particularly for its larger customers.In fact a "cottage industry" has sprung up in recent years for various forms of training Sloper said.

However DISA's customers are spread across the globe which makes conventional training somewhat difficult.

"We can certainly do seminars to a limited extent but then you have to consider the costs of doing that " she added.

Instead DISA likely will look into interactive computer-based training that users can access on the World Wide Web. The Web also will make it easy to distribute further guidelines and samples to its worldwide customer base Sloper said.

The agency plans to consider more ideas as it gets further into the program.

"We are really in infancy as far as planning this goes " Sloper said.

However Kelman is encouraged already by DISA's commitment to this project.

"I would regard it as an enormous breakthrough " Kelman said particularly in light of DISA's willingness to pull money from its own pockets to fund the training.

Additionally because DEIS II customers come from throughout DOD "this will have significance above and beyond DEIS II " Kelman said. "Once the training is there it can be used in other contexts as well."

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