Vendors aim for HITS

After months of delay, the Department of Housing and Urban Development last week issued its request for proposals for a $530 million information technology services contract.

The broad contract, a two-year base with eight one-year options, would replace a $526 million contract awarded to Lockheed Martin Corp. in 1990 and due to expire in 2003. The proposals are due by April 29.

The performance-based contract, called HUD Information Technology Services (HITS), would include data processing and telecommunications services as well as hardware, enterprise engineering, software support and database management. It also would include disaster recovery, security and privacy protections.

Contractors have been waiting for this RFP for months, according to Lee Jahnke, director of telecommunications for Advanced Engineering and Research Associates Inc., which is seeking to become a subcontractor for HITS. "It's fairly broad, and a company can find [its] niche and bring expertise to the table," he said.

The contract has attracted the interest of many companies because of its length and depth, according to Guy Timberlake of Netcom Technologies Inc.

"We're trying to build up our arsenal, and this is a good opportunity. It has a lot of service requirements," he said.

But Leamon Lee, associate director for administration at the National Institutes of Health, questioned the approach. Lee is responsible for the popular Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners 2 contract and other vehicles.

"With all the [governmentwide acquisition contracts and General Services Administration] vehicles out there, why award another open contract when you can use one of those?" Lee asked.

HUD officials could not be reached for comment.

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