DISA preps own virtual IT store

Following in the footsteps of the National Institutes of Health the Defense Information Systems Agency plans to create a huge virtual computer store in which many vendors would offer hardware and maintenance services to agencies and offices throughout the Defense Department according to industry sources.

DISA last week released a draft statement of work for the Defense Information Infrastructure Equipment and Maintenance (DIIEM) program. Awards potentially worth several hundred million dollars are scheduled for June.

Although many of the details depend on industry response DISA expects DIIEM to follow the trail blazed by NIH's Electronic Computer Store. DISA also wants DIIEM vendors and customers to conduct business electronically.

However unlike ECS which offered an almost unlimited array of off-the-shelf products DIIEM will focus on a narrower set of equipment - including personal computers workstations serv-ers networking equipment and other products - that comply with DOD's DII architecture.

DII defines a standard computer and communications environment based on commercial and government standards. DOD is pushing to move all its users and applications into this common operating environment where distributed systems can communicate seamlessly.

DISA also plans to emphasize maintenance training and education to support DIIEM customers as they move to DII. "We want to have the ability to provide as much of what the customer wants in one-stop shopping " said Mark Bogart DISA's contracting officer.

According to the statement of work DISA does not plan to specify specific models of hardware requiring simply that the platform support Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol networking and the DII-approved list of operating systems from Microsoft Corp. (Windows NT) IBM Corp. Hewlett-Packard Co. Sun Microsystems Inc. Digital Equipment Corp. and Silicon Graphics Inc.

Because the program emphasizes products and maintenance resellers rather than manufacturers are expected to submit bids. Litton/PRC Inc. said last week it would participate.

Marie Monsees a program manager with the NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center which manages NIH's ECS said DISA should be in a good position to make this program work. "They can probably improve on the process by watching what we went through " Monsees said.

Bob Dornan senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc. McLean Va. said that DISA like NIH runs the risk of not getting the attractive prices that are possible on indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contracts. Vendors are most interested in programs that have "a relatively well-defined community [of customers] and reasonably defined requirements " Dornan said.

DISA also is creating an electronic shopping mall - called the DII Open Systems Store - where DOD and civilian users can buy products and services off DISA contracts and get links to information on other agency and governmentwide IDIQ contracts. DISA said it is aiming to have the mall on-line in May.

- John Moore contributed to this article.

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DISA taps SAIC for $285M pact

The Defense Information Systems Agency last week awarded Science Applications International Corp. a $285 million task-order contract to support the department's development of a standard worldwide technical infrastructure.

Under the Defense Information Infrastructure (DII) Integration Contract SAIC will develop test integrate and install products for DOD's major command and control computing platforms including the Global Command and Control System and the Global Combat Support System.

SAIC also will support the integration of the various DII components.

DII/IC has a one-year base with four one-year options.

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