WorldCom picked for DREN contract

The Defense Information Systems Agency announced April 4 that it has awarded the much-watched Defense Research Engineering Network (DREN) contract to WorldCom Inc.

The award came following multiple delays after DISA awarded the contract last year to Global Crossing Ltd., the once high-flying telecommunications company that recently filed for bankruptcy.

DREN will provide enhanced connectivity to all Defense Department research communities, said Natasha Haubold, a WorldCom spokeswoman. The award is a follow-on contract to the DREN Intersite Services Contract (DISC) and will provide enhanced wide-area network (WAN) services to support DOD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program.

The contract is guaranteed for three years and $6 million, but if all options are exercised, it could reach $450 million over 10 years, Haubold said. She said the new features include IP multicasting and large data transfer capabilities, in addition to the previous requirements, such as stringent service-level agreements and greater availability and reliability.

"Anyone doing DOD research across the [United States], we're connecting those sites and allowing them to better collaborate on DOD initiatives," she said.

The awarding of the DREN contract would have been big news based on its potential value and services, but Global Crossing's financial woes have intensified the focus on the project.

Global Crossing Government Markets was awarded the DREN contract last year, but DISA withdrew that offer when competing vendors protested the award. DISA was then going to award DREN earlier this year, just days before Global Crossing filed for bankruptcy, but put the announcement off. DISA was set to award the contract last month, but notified vendors that it was holding off until at least April.

Global Crossing was one of the four main bidders on the DREN contract, along with WorldCom, AT&T, Sprint and Qwest Communications International Inc.

About the Authors

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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