More ITES Delays

First, the Army released the $800 million request for proposals for its Information Technology Enterprise Solutions (ITES) project in May, more than a month late. Now, despite assurances to the contrary, it appears the awards will also be delayed.

The ITES contract is designed to overhaul nearly every aspect of the Army's IT infrastructure. The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract will have up to five vendors in each of its two modules, enterprise hardware solutions and enterprise mission support services solutions, said Kevin Carroll, program executive officer for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS).

Proposals for ITES were received June 9 and negotiations with the enterprise hardware solutions offerors commenced July 15, said Lee Harvey, special assistant to the PEO-EIS. The Army expects to award the contract in September.

"I wouldn't say it's a major delay," Harvey told the Interceptor. "With receipt of proposals in mid-June, I wouldn't actually expect an award much prior to...early to mid-September. I'm sure the [IT, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center] team has a large number of bids to evaluate and negotiate, which takes time.

"With an acquisition this large, 60 days from proposal receipt to contract award [or awards] isn't an unusual amount of time," he said. "Remember, we're looking at the potential for up to 10 contract awards with the combined functional areas. I'm sure they are being methodical and fair so that we obtain best value."

UAV on Target

Unmanned aerial vehicles performed so well during the recent conflict in Iraq that Defense Department officials are now eager to improve how the service buys and uses the technology.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Joseph Stein, director of aerospace operations at the Air Combat Command, said unmanned aerial vehicles, particularly Predators, provided invaluable video feeds to locations throughout southwest Asia and the continental United States.

"There was an almost insatiable desire of combatant commanders" for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance Predators provided during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Stein said during July 15 remarks at the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International conference in Baltimore.

He said Predators were present during nearly all of the war's most famous scenes, from the bombing of time-sensitive targets to rescuing Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch.

Jim Thomsen, acting executive director of the Navy's program executive office, Littoral and Mine Warfare, said several unmanned underwater vehicles were used in the Middle East for everything from advanced sonar to mine detection. But he said DOD must examine other ways to buy unmanned solutions to retain battlefield advantages.

Mining Purchase Card Data

Data-mining techniques have helped DOD crack down on fraudulent and inappropriate use of purchase cards, according to a report DOD's inspector general released last month.

Continuous system monitoring is required to prevent future card misuse, the IG said. The report indicates that an automated data-mining process, which could flag suspect transactions and more closely scrutinize them, is the best first step to take in the monitoring process.

The latest batch of culprits were caught between October 2000 and December 2001 buying a $232 Santa suit, a motorcycle, and accessing pornographic and gambling Web sites.

Two employees at DOD's Washington Headquarters Services used a card to make 500 purchases of goods and services solely to defraud the government. Both were caught; one was imprisoned and the other received probation. They have been ordered to repay the government.

"We believe effective controls can be facilitated by developing an automated oversight program using data- mining techniques that can detect potentially fraudulent, wasteful or abusive purchase card transactions," the report concluded.

Army is Listening

It has been known for some time that Air Force Secretary James Roche has been nominated to take on the same position with the Army. Slightly less clear was how Army leaders are reacting to that news, but Lt. Gen. John Riggs, director of the Objective Force Task Force, is having some fun with it.

Speaking July 15 at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference in Baltimore, he was part of an all-star DOD lineup and was to be followed by Anthony Tether, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency director, then Roche.

"If you have to nap, do it during [Tether's] speech," not during Roche's," Riggs told the nearly 2,000 in the audience. "The Army has become very interested in what the Air Force's leadership has to say."

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