Federal union questions price tag of Army logistics pact

Official documents delivered to Congress just days before the Army awarded a $681 million contract to Computer Sciences Corp. for the Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program (WLMP) place the total cost of the program at $533 million — $148 million less than CSC's winning bid.

The Army's Communications and Electronics Command (Cecom), which is responsible for software development and maintenance centers in Chambersburg, Pa., and St. Louis, submitted the cost estimates to Congress. Some 500 federal employees at the two centers stand to lose their jobs if the centers' operations are privatized, as is planned under WLMP.

However, because the Army waived the requirement of conducting a public/private competition for the work, workers at the facilities were never asked to put a bid together, according to John Morris, union president of the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Local 1763, which represents the 500 workers. The federal workers' bid would have been even less costly than Cecom's official estimate, he said.

Official documentation obtained by FCW outlines what Cecom describes as an economic impact analysis. It places the command's estimate for the total program at $533.6 million in constant dollars (adjusted for inflation) and $581.7 million in current dollars. More importantly, Morris said, Cecom hired a contractor to conduct the cost analysis, which was not developed using NFFE Local 1763's definition of "Most Efficient Organization," as required by law.

A spokesman for Cecom said, "the notice that was submitted to Congress was submitted in accordance with [federal law]." According to the spokesman, that notice gave the estimated cost for a 10-year period of modernizing the Army's wholesale logistics process and the information technology needed to support those processes, as well as sustaining the technology before and after modernization is completed.

"The Army reported that the estimated cost of having this work done in-house was $588.6 million, while the CSC proposal was to accomplish this same work for $345 million," the Cecom spokesman said. "The WLMP contract with CSC, which was signed on Dec. 29, includes a broader scope of effort than just [the work] that is covered by the notice to Congress." The CSC contract included data processing services, services for modernization of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service's technology infrastructure, and other related logistics efforts, the spokesman said.

A source at CSC who spoke on condition of anonymity said WLMP was "never an A-76 proposal," meaning that it was not up for competition by the government.

NFFE filed an injunction last year in federal court to reverse the Army's approval of a waiver that allowed the acquisition to move forward without requiring a public/private competition for the work [FCW, May 3, 1999]. The injunction remains under consideration by a judge, Morris said. "It's still not a done deal. We're still in the ring," he said.

The St. Louis and Chambersburg facilities are primarily responsible for writing code and maintaining many of the Army's legacy logistics applications, which need to be upgraded, sources said. The two main systems maintained by these facilities are the Commodity Command Standard System and the Standard Depot System.


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