Five-pact IT deal on the horizon

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to award five information technology services contracts over the next three years to provide computer systems development maintenance planning and telecommunications support.

The EPA plans to use the contracts to buy the same types of services it is purchasing under four existing contracts valued at more than $550 million: the Mission-Oriented Systems Engineering Support (MOSES) pact held by Science Applications International Corp. a facilities management contract held by Lockheed Martin Technical Services Inc. a telecommunications support deal with DynCorp and the Information Technology and Architectural Support (ITAS) contract held by Technology Planning and Management Corp.

The agency is restructuring these programs said Paul Wohlleben the EPA's director of information resources management because a recent internal reorganization changed how the contracts are managed. But Wohlleben said "I wouldn't see this as a departure at all in the way EPA does business." The five contracts are part of a new Enterprise Technology and System Services (ETASS) program which will include the following procurements:* The recompete of the $140 million MOSES contract to run the EPA's Systems Development Center where the agency researches builds and tests new software. The EPA is about to hit the spending limit on the current contract although the contract is not set to expire until 1998. An award date has not been scheduled.* A National Telecommunications and Computing Support contract to operate and maintain EPA hardware software and telecommunications services nationwide including development of local-area network applications and user support. This work is currently performed by Lockheed Martin under a contract that will expire next year.* A Washington Metropolitan Area Telecommunications and Computing Support contract to supply similar operations maintenance LAN applications development and user support services to EPA offices in Washington D.C. Lockheed Martin and DynCorp currently share this work under two separate contracts. Although the DynCorp contract will not expire until 1999 the EPA plans to award the new contract next year.* The follow-on to ITAS which in addition to supporting the above contracts would provide advisory and assistance services as well as services other vendors cannot perform because of conflicts of interest. The new contract is slated for award in November 1998.* A new National Voice Communications Support contract for support services for the EPA's voice communications network including staffing of the agency's FTS 2000 business office. This contract would not be awarded until June 1999. DynCorp is currently performing these services.

Wohlleben said the EPA would use some innovative contracting techniques recently authorized under procurement reform legislation. "We'll have some multiple awards where that fits " he said and the agency will also try to make awards more quickly.

One goal of ETASS is to reduce the EPA's network management costs. With labor costs increasing he said "we will be incorporating as the products mature systems and software that will help us manage that."Bonnie Brandon the contracting officer for the national and Washington-area computing and telecommunications procurements said information about "prequalification requirements" for these procurements will be issued after Sept. 15.

Later this fall the EPA will issue a request for comments and hold meetings with pre-qualified vendors before issuing solicitations for the two procurements Brandon said.

Brandon said multiple awards will be made only for the ITAS follow-on which may have its scope expanded. ITAS is now an 8(a) small-business set-aside but other firms could be eligible to compete for the successor contracts.

The National Voice Communications Support contract is planned to be an 8(a) set-aside Brandon said.

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