GTE, PRC snag $674M support services contract

The Air Force last week awarded contracts to GTE Government Systems and PRC Inc. as part of a $674 million program to provide support services for information systems at 20 bases under the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC). Under the MIS Technical Support II program the two contractors will fill task orders for the maintenance operation and re-engineering of AFMC's information infrastructure - including computers and communications - at Hanscom Air Force Base Mass. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Ohio Gunter Annex/Maxwell Air Force Base Ala. and other AFMC sites. MISTS II can cover anything from setting up a local- or wide-area network to re-engineering an application or developing automation software for a particular office - "the breadth of IT services " said Diane Gingras the MISTS II program manager at the Electronic Systems Center Hanscom Air Force Base. Twice the Reach The first MISTS contract worth $180 million was awarded to Computer Sciences Corp. in 1991. The recompete is worth much more because the program is open to twice the number of sites. Other teams bidding on MISTS II included CSC ITT Corp. Lockheed Martin Corp. Science Applications International Corp. and TRW Inc. according to Federal Sources Inc. CSC declined to comment on the award. Like the $900 million Base Level System Modernization II contract awarded to Lockheed Martin this summer MISTS II covers base-level operations not the command and control environment. Under BLSM II Lockheed Martin will modernize the key MIS applications while the MISTS II contractors will be supporting the underlying MIS infrastructure. Because the bases are trying to upgrade their systems with the latest in technology the Air Force wanted a central vehicle available to all its sites Gingras said. By providing a common source of services - rather than using individual contracts or placing task orders against governmentwide contracts - "we have a vehicle that provides a level of service but also ties [AFMC] together with the intention of trying to reduce the costs to the government for capabilities that are needed by many sites " Gingras said. Furthermore having the different sites draw on a common source of services creates an opportunity for the customers to combine efforts where possible and share lessons learned she said. Although multiple governmentwide services contracts are available it makes sense for the Air Force to run its own procurement said Bob Dornan senior vice president of Federal Sources. With an agency-specific vehicle "you've got to control your own destiny " Dornan said. "You've got something tailored to your needs so you don't need to worry about the lowest common denominator" in government requirements he said. Vehicle Will Move GTE and PRC expect a tremendous amount of activity on the new vehicle. Although initially the two teams must focus on smoothing the transition at sites where CSC has been working the Air Force also has 10 sites that were not covered by MISTS and are ready to begin upgrading. "Some of the [10 new] bases have very old infrastructure and they are going to need to modernize that " said Randolph Sablich director of Air Force programs at GTE Government Systems Needham Mass. In particular the Air Force will be looking at how to take advantage of Internet technology as well as the new generation of workstations such as Windows NT Sablich said. The two winning prime contractors included in their teams a mix of product and service providers as well as small businesses that were well-acquainted with particular Air Force customers. A Diverse Team For example PRC's primary teammate Analytical Systems Engineering Corp. has done a lot of work at Hanscom said Austin Yerks senior vice president of business and sales development at PRC a subsidiary of Litton Industries. The team also includes a number of small and minority-owned companies for other site-specific business as well as program management specialist Robbins-Gioia Inc. and product and service providers Digital Equipment Corp. Oracle Corp. Sun Microsystems Inc. Telos Corp. and Wang Laboratories Inc. "We provide not only a top technology approach but a reduced-risk approach for the Air Force " Yerks said. The Air Force is PRC's largest Defense Department client. GTE Government Systems' MISTS II team includes BDM Federal Inc. ARINC Research Corp. RCF Information Systems Inc. and Frontier Engineering Inc. - some of which have done work at Wright-Patterson - plus a number of other small companies.

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