Navy networking deal due

The Navy should award a delivery order this week for networking products and services to cover its locations outside the United States, according to one of the two vendors bidding for the order.

The Navy will make its purchase for the program — called Base Level Information Infrastructure Outside the Continental U.S. (BLII OCONUS) — through one of its two Voice, Video and Data (Vivid) contracts, said Lt. Cmdr. Greg Geisen, a spokesman for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego.

The Navy Department is outsourcing its voice, video and data infrastructure through Electronic Data Systems Corp.'s Navy Marine Corps Intranet contract, which covers the continental United States; Alaska; Hawaii; Guam; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Iceland; and Puerto Rico.

The four companies that bid for NMCI had submitted proposals with options for covering other Marine Corps and Navy locations outside the United States. But department officials apparently have held back from expanding NMCI to those locations because of the complexity of host nation agreements for hiring foreign national workers. Department officials commissioned a business study last year about how to expand NMCI to installations outside the United States.

BLII OCONUS will not include the Marine Corps because Corps officials are negotiating with EDS to exercise a contract option for their base in Okinawa, Japan, Geisen said.

Avaya Inc. has submitted a bid through its Vivid contract with Spawar and expects to learn of the BLII OCONUS award this week, said Linda Edgerton, a company spokeswoman. Avaya is a spin-off of Lucent Technologies and sells enterprise-class voice-over-IP systems, customer relationship management and workflow management solutions, Gigabit Ethernet switches and wireless and video products through its Vivid contract, Edgerton said.

Industry sources say that Avaya is competing against General Dynamics Corp., which holds the other Navy Vivid contract. General Dynamics would seem well-positioned to win the networking contract because EDS is a subcontractor on General Dynamics' Vivid contract, and the company last year completed a site survey of Navy locations outside the United States for its failed NMCI bid.

Ray Whitehead, a General Dynamics spokesman, had no comment.

Scott Randall, program director for naval networks and information assurance at Spawar, last year said that expanding NMCI to installations outside the U.S. would include as many as 25,000 Navy users and 9,000 Marines. The Navy Department planned to buy the same equipment for outside the United States that EDS is providing for NMCI to reduce training costs and improve interoperability, he said in November.

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