Feds set IWN schedule

Integrated Wireless Network site

Federal officials have outlined the schedule for awarding the Integrated Wireless Network initiative to provide an interoperable nationwide wireless communications network for federal agents.

IWN is a joint project between the Justice, Homeland Security and Treasury departments. The seamless, secure and reliable network would ultimately serve 80,000 law enforcement users from those three departments at 2,500 sites, including in cities, highways, land and coastal borders, and ports of entry.

During phase one, vendors can submit information that focuses on high-level conceptual approaches, organizational experience and past performance. Government officials will use this to determine viable competitors for the second phase.

Vendors not formally invited may still participate in phase two "as long as they recognize the inherent risks of doing so," according to a Justice Department document outlining the procurement schedule. Such companies could become subcontractors or teaming partners with invited competitors.

The IWN Joint Program Office will issue a request for proposals during the second phase requiring participants to submit detailed technical, management and cost proposals. Prospective submitters will be given an opportunity to learn about the three departments -- their processes, procedures and other information -- by visiting government facilities.

Factors such as management approach, performance management and metrics approach, technical approach, organizational experience and past performance, and socioeconomic business utilization will be considered during evaluation. Officials will award indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts to two or more vendors. Each contract will cover the full scope of the IWN requirements so officials can issue task orders under a variety of pricing arrangements.

During phase three, vendors awarded the IDIQ contracts will be "issued a task order to prepare and deliver a detailed system design for the first service area, an implementation plan for that area and a firm fixed price to accomplish the implementation," according to the document. They will also have to submit a design and implementation plan for the entire IWN project. Following evaluations, federal officials will then select a single IWN contractor. Projected Schedule includes:

Aug. 26, 2004 — Phase 1 invitation to participate.

Sept. 21, 2004 — Phase 1 submission due.

Oct. 1-25, 2004 — Request for Comment for draft Phase 2 RFP.

Nov. 16, 2004 — Phase 2 RFP opens.

Nov. 18, 2004 — Due diligence begins.

Jan. 21, 2005 — Due diligence ends.

Jan. 28, 2005 — Phase 2 RFP closes.

May 5, 2005 — Phase 2 awards.

May 13, 2005 — Phase 3 task orders issued.

To be determined — Phase 3 competition complete.

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