Air Force award confirmed for SI

The Small Business Administration vindicated the Air Force in the award of an $800 million contract in late March to SI International Inc. for communications equipment and services in support of four military commands.

SBA officials on April 14 dismissed a protest by one of the seven vendors that competed for the work, and the Air Force formally awarded the contract that day to Reston, Va.-based SI, said Michael Kucharek, deputy chief of media at Air Force Space Command. The protesting company, whose name was not disclosed, had argued that SI did not meet the procurement's small-business requirement.

SI International's division in Colorado Springs, Colo., will provide services for engineering, furnishing, and testing equipment and materiel. It will also provide operations and maintenance for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems for Air Force Space Command, U.S. Strategic and Northern Commands and North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The service organization at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado originally announced that SI International had won the contract on March 26, but the rival vendor filed a protest on March 30.

Air Force Space Command officials released the request for proposals August 11, saying the contract award would go to a small business. Command officials said the winning company must meet the small-business size requirement when submitting its proposal, Kucharek said. The contract defines a small business as one that employs no more than 1,500 employees.

SI International's Web site says the company employs more than 1,800 people, but it employed about 1,200 people when submitting the proposal, said company spokesman Alan Hill, explaining it acquired 800 employees when purchasing Matcom International Corp. in late January.

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