AT&T adds protest to DREN deal

In a bit of a deja vu scenario, one more unsuccessful bidder for the $450 million Defense Research and Engineering Network contract has protested the award.

With its announcement April 22, incumbent vendor AT&T became the third of the four unsuccessful vendors to file a protest over the Defense Information Systems Agency's contract award to WorldCom Inc.

"We don't believe that our proposal was evaluated fairly and reasonably," AT&T spokesman Jim Byrnes said.

DISA already had put work under the contract on hold after protests by Global Crossing Ltd. and Sprint. Only Qwest Communications International Inc. has not yet filed a protest of the much-watched contract.

The story seems familiar. Last year, DISA awarded the DREN contract to Global Crossing and then withdrew the offer after the competing vendors filed protests.

This time around, Sprint filed a protest April 12 and Global Crossing followed suit on April 15.

DREN is designed to offer enhanced connectivity to all DOD research communities, providing wide-area network services to support DOD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program.

AT&T's existing contract had been set to expire last year. DOD and AT&T negotiated a short-term contract to continue providing services until the new contract takes effect.

About the Author

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.


  • Workforce
    White House rainbow light shutterstock ID : 1130423963 By zhephotography

    White House rolls out DEIA strategy

    On Tuesday, the Biden administration issued agencies a roadmap to guide their efforts to develop strategic plans for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA), as required under a as required under a June executive order.

  • Defense
    software (whiteMocca/

    Why DOD is so bad at buying software

    The Defense Department wants to acquire emerging technology faster and more efficiently. But will its latest attempts to streamline its processes be enough?

Stay Connected