Three firms share DOD satellite deal

The Defense Department's largest small-business program, a hotly contested $2.2 billion deal to provide military satellite services, has ended in a three-way tie.

The Defense Information Systems Agency awarded three indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts for the Defense Information Systems Network Satellite Transmission Services-Global (DSTS-G) program to Spacelink International LLC, Artel Inc. and Arrowhead Space and Telecommunications Inc. The cumulative face value for all three contracts could reach nearly $2.2 billion over the life of the contracts if all options are exercised. Each contract was awarded for a base period of three years with seven one-year options.

DSTS-G is designed to give DOD a full range of commercial satellite services to ensure rapid response to worldwide crises. It will provide a commercial-based, private satellite network to support the department's general-purpose service requirements.

"This piece of satellite communications will help complete a very critical segment of the Global Information Grid by completing and enhancing existing [Defense Information System Network] satellite, wireless, teleport and terrestrial network capabilities," said Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr., director of DISA, on Feb. 16. At an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association luncheon in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 15, he said the contract represents one of DOD's "newest and most innovative" programs.

Before it was set aside for small- business contractors, DSTS-G was criticized as a case of DOD "bundling" multiple smaller contracts into one large program for which only large contractors could compete.

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