Army, AF tap 3 for grab-bag buy

The Army and the Air Force last week awarded contracts to three vendors under a $5 billion program to provide an extensive range of services and parts that are needed to support aging mission-critical systems throughout the federal government.

The Rapid Response to Critical Systems Requirements (R2CSR) support program is a cooperative effort between the Army's Communications-Electronics Command (Cecom) and the Air Force's Air Logistics Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Lear Siegler Services Inc. and Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems Inc. each won contracts worth more than $1.8 billion, and ARINC Inc.'s win is valued at more than $1.4 billion. Each vendor will lead one of three contractor teams totaling 56 companies for the purposes of providing a single integrator for the immediate acquisition of items that are considered essential to sustaining an existing federal system.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts will allow all government agencies to obtain critical items, including legacy computer hardware, software and other electronic components that are difficult to procure because of outdated technology or a lack of engineering data.

The services created this procurement in response to an increasing practice of extending systems significantly beyond their originally projected life span, according to Cecom.

Critical items not originally intended for maintenance increasingly fail as these systems become older, often leaving DOD without spare parts or information on how to repair them.

Each contractor team will "provide engineering support services to ensure the integration and effective maintenance of systems and weapons systems platforms across all phases of their life cycle," said James J. Barbarello, director of the Cecom command and control integration directorate.

R2CSR is a follow-on award to the Low-Tech Omnibus contract awarded in 1995 to Lear Siegler for $102 million, said Craig Coy, vice president of business development for Lear Siegler. However, R2CSR significantly expands the original contract to include best-practices studies and analyses as well as the entire gamut of information technology technical support services, he said.

"The teaming arrangement supports the needs of a competitive acquisition by providing multiple prime contractors and subcontractors for quick and less costly solutions," said Paolo "Paul" Paone, the R2CSR program and procurement team leader for Cecom's command and control integration directorate. "Right now this is a first-of-its-kind contract in the government."

The contract covers all systems and subsystems related to command and control, information exchange, communications, navigation, system survivability, electronic sensing, automatic guidance control, and computer processing and display.

Contractor Responsibilities

The contract also calls upon each contractor team to establish an integrated data environment infrastructure to support paperless contracting among each vendor, Cecom and the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Paone said.

According to the contract statement of work, each vendor must be able to provide high data-rate networking, global Internet connectivity, virtual prototyping, modeling and simulation support, collaborative planning connectivity, software development tools and artificial intelligence tools.

"The goal is to be able to get task orders on the contract within 20 days," Paone said. "It will also give us the ability to upgrade [legacy] systems and extend their life expectancy."

Officials from Lockheed Martin and ARINC declined to comment on the award.

However, Coy said the contract is "another way to get to a virtual enterprise and will also support the Army's digitization efforts" by getting parts, repair services and integration services out in a timely fashion to the organizations that need them.

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