New round of DREN protests filed

GAO's Global Crossing decision

The troubled history of the Defense Department's $450 million contract for a high-speed network for researchers has run up against yet another hurdle.

Two of the losing vendors have again filed protests with the General Accounting Office objecting to the Defense Information Systems Agency's award to WorldCom Inc. in light of the telecom giant's financial troubles.

Sprint filed a protest with GAO July 3, and Global Crossing Ltd. followed July 5.

A Sprint spokesman said that the protest has been sealed and he could not talk about the details. However the protests are likely questioning WorldCom's accounting practices.

DISA selected WorldCom as the follow-on vendor for the Defense Research Engineering Network for scientists and researchers. WorldCom officials have admitted to improperly accounting for billions of dollars in expenses.

That news came just days after GAO had rejected Global Crossing's earlier DREN protest. DISA had removed the company from competition because of its financial troubles.According to a Global Crossing statement, however, the company is recovering. "Having completed most of our restructuring activities, we are well on our way to completing a successful reorganization. At the same time, we have met all of our financial targets, continued to serve approximately 85,000 customers, signed up new customers, and even improved network performance," Global Crossing said in a statement.

Sprint and AT&T also had filed an earlier protest, but withdrew them before GAO issued a decision.

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.


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