Protests halt DOD contract

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In reaction to multiple protests, the Defense Department has chosen to cancel the $400 million Defense Research and Engineering Network contract awarded to Global Crossing Government Markets.

The selection of Global Crossing for the project had been announced July 9. The deal called for the company to provide one of the world's largest fiber-optic networks, linking more than 6,000 scientists and engineers at Defense laboratories, test centers, universities and industry sites. The contract was to provide advanced wide-area network services for DREN, the military's prime long-haul communications service provider for the High Performance Computing Modernization Program.

Cassandra White, a spokeswoman for the Defense Information Systems Agency, said the four companies that protested the award are Sprint, WorldCom Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc. and AT&T. In response to protests, DISA sent a letter to the General Accounting Office Aug. 14.

It stated that "The head of the contracting activity, as delegated by the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, has determined the agency will cancel and terminate for the convenience of the government the award to Global Crossing Telecommunications Inc., of the Defense Research and Engineering contract.

Kelly Malarkey, spokeswoman for Global Crossing, said the protests come as no great surprise, considering the value of the contract. However, she said the company is confident it will emerge on top.

"Global Crossing has been notified by the General Accounting Office that the Defense Department intends to take corrective action, but we have not been officially notified of anything by DOD," Malarkey said.

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