EPA awards first pact to upgrade systems

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a five-year $259 million contract for telecommunications and computer support to Lockheed Martin Information Support Services the first of five contracts the agency plans to let during the next two years to maintain and upgrade its computing infrastructure and software.

The EPA will use the National Telecommunications and Computing Services (TACS) contract to manage hardware software and networks for users in the agency's National Computer Center in Research Triangle Park N.C. the National Environmental Supercomputing Center in Bay City Mich. and regional offices. A second contract to support EPA headquarters is expected to be awarded in December.

Concurrent with the Oct. 9 National TACS award the EPA asked vendors to comment on a draft work statement for the upcoming recompete of its Mission-Oriented Systems Engineering Support (MOSES) contract a $215 million pact currently held by Science Applications International Corp. As the EPA's main software development contract MOSES is expected to support agency efforts to integrate its major information systems and databases over five years.

Later this month the EPA plans to issue a new detailed schedule for updating its systems to support one-stop reporting of environmental information from regulated industries and to give broader public access to its data among other goals. "I would assume all the development of that under the current contract and the new one " said Ted Harris head of the Information Technology Support and Acquisition Branch of the EPA's Enterprise Technology Services Division.

The current MOSES pact which expires next year has been used to develop applications ranging from a system for managing agency contracts to the data warehouse behind EnviroFacts a World Wide Web-based system that provides public access to numerous EPA databases. "This is really a software development warehouse and you can run anything through it " said Barbara Burlingame a member of the MOSES software engineering process group at SAIC.

One major change the EPA is proposing for the follow-on contract is a requirement that vendors be certified at Level II of the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model which aims to ensure that software is developed using standard well-documented procedures.

"That is becoming more and more common " said Bob Dornan senior vice president with Federal Sources Inc. McLean Va. "I think we're going to see that in virtually every type of procurement like this."

The EPA expects to issue its request for proposals for MOSES next month and to award the contract by next May.

National TACS will be used primarily for equipment installation technical support and maintenance of EPA systems. The follow-on to another contract Information Technology and Architecture Support which is slated for award late next year will be used to evaluate new technology.

Lockheed Martin was the incumbent vendor on the contract that preceded National TACS the Primary Support Contract. Brian Haney senior analyst with market research firm Input Inc. said the EPA's consideration of past performance in its evaluation of bidders "could have made the difference" for Lockheed Martin because the agency was familiar with its work.

OAO Corp. Greenbelt Md. also competed for National TACS but Bob Lohfeld senior vice president of the company said he had not yet been briefed on the reasons for the EPA's selection.

The final procurement in the EPA's suite of IT contracts the new National Voice Communications Support is expected to be launched early next year.

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