Air Force to seek network bids at last

After a two-month delay, the Air Force by April 1 plans to solicit vendors to serve on the $10 billion Network-Centric Solutions (Netcents) contract.

Netcents will provide Air Force agencies with net-centric technologies; networking equipment and services; and voice, video and data communications hardware and software. A request for Netcents proposals will be issued by April 1, according to a statement on the contract Web site.

"The Air Force is finalizing its documentation of the acquisition strategy as required by the Office of the Secretary of Defense," the statement reads. "As soon as these documents are approved by Networks and Information Integration (NII), we will release the final Netcents' request for proposals."

The Air Force originally planned to solicit vendors for Netcents Jan. 30. The military's NII and chief information officer's organization reportedly wanted the contract to adhere to computer enterprise standards. The service supposedly also needed to rewrite the acquisition strategy because of new military contracting formats, said an industry official whose company intends to submit a proposal.

The Air Force will award seven Netcents contracts: four to midsize and large vendors and three to small businesses. The contract covers five years.

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