Army seeks new modernization vendor

Global Combat Support System fact sheet

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The fielding of one of the Army's two marquee programs for modernizing logistics systems has been delayed by up to 10 months after service officials stopped work with a systems integrator in December.

Four delivery schedule slips on the part of GRC International Inc. of Vienna, Va., caused Army officials to end their Global Combat Support System-Army work with the company, said T. Kevin Carroll, the program executive officer for Standard Army Management Information Systems at Fort Belvoir, Va.

GCSS-A is the Army's program for modernizing its retail logistics systems; the Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program is the service's other primary logistics systems initiative. PEO-STAMIS officials are working with WLMP vendor Computer Sciences Corp. to see if it's possible to build an interface between the two systems, Carroll said.

The Army will spend $225 million on GCSS-A software development in the next six years, Carroll said. The service is also buying 40,000 servers and workstations running Microsoft Corp. Windows 2000 as part of GCSS-A. The Fourth Infantry Division, the Army's first digitized division, will not use GCSS-A at its March exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif., where the unit will test the compatibility of more than 100 information systems, Carroll said.

GRCI missed a June 1999 deadline for a Defense Department milestone decision to approve fielding GCSS-A. It also missed two subsequent deadlines, Carroll said, and at least one verbal deadline.

PEO-STAMIS has worked with GRCI on GCSS-A since 1998, when the company won its first General Services Administration Information Technology Schedule contract delivery order for the program.

Wayne Jackson, a spokesman for GRCI, an AT&T subsidiary, declined to comment on GCSS-A. GRCI officials said last year that they were having problems finding software developers who could work well with Oracle Corp.'s Developer 2000, which they were using to integrate 13 Army legacy systems for logistics.

To improve their GRCI contract, Army officials modified it twice and gave it a performance-based contracting structure so that GRCI and the service would share in risks and savings, Carroll said.

By early April, the Army Communications-Electronics Command Acquisition Center-Washington will award a GCSS-A blanket purchasing agreement.

Bids were due Feb. 8, said David Kriegman, senior vice president at SRA International Inc., whose company submitted a bid, as well as DynCorp, GRCI, IBM Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Science Applications International Corp. and TRW Inc. "We had three weeks to respond" to the quote request, Kriegman said.

TRW may have an edge on winning the GCSS recompetition because the company developed a Web-based interface in December to help the Army view its unit property books, supply catalogs and part numbers for ordering.

GCSS explained

The Global Combat Support System is a cornerstone Defense Department logistics program, letting regional commanders in chief track logistics inventories under their control. Using commercial relational database management systems, commanders can query the Defense Logistics Agency's inventory and all four service inventories in their command.

GCSS handles retail logistics, the unit-level supply of parts and spares.

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