Wanted: Air Force seeks IT integrator

Despite rumors to the contrary, Air Force officials are moving forward with an initiative to hire a lead systems integrator to manage information technology systems at Air and Space Operations Centers (AOCs), the service's top procurement officer said.

"There has been no decision to delay or cancel the AOC" lead systems integrator request for proposals, Marvin Sambur, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, said in a statement.

The declaration by Air Force officials at the service's Pentagon headquarters comes amid recent comments from service and industry officials that changes were being made to the Air Force's solicitation — an award that could be worth $1 billion — for management of the facilities' IT systems. Service officials devise and plan bomber, cargo, fighter, refueling and spy aircraft missions at AOCs.

"From what I've heard, it wouldn't surprise me if the Weapon System Group cancels it," according to an Air Force official familiar with the situation who requested anonymity. The military services often change procurements before they release the official solicitation, said an industry official following the initiative who also requested anonymity.

Officials at the Air Force's Weapon System Group at Air Combat Command declined to comment on changes to the program. The organization, based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., oversees the initiative.

Officials at the service's Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., also declined to comment. They handle contract management for the program.

Changes to government procurements occur frequently. But something big happened to make Air Force officials reconsider going ahead with the program, said Louis Victorino, a contract attorney for 33 years who works for Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton LLP in Washington, D.C.

"It's unusual,"

Victorino said. "In procurements of this size, agencies plan at least a year ahead of time."

Funding issues or information learned from the presolicitation notice can cause agencies to delay or cancel procurements, said Anne Perry, a contract attorney who specializes in bid protests at Sheppard Mullin.

"Perhaps the responses received from vendors

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