Joint Spectrum Center gets some IT help
The Defense Department will receive IT services for its Joint Spectrum Center from Alion Science and Technology Corp.
Under the one-year, $1.4 million subcontract, Alion of McLean, Va., will maintain the center’s management databases that support the Defense Department’s wireless-frequencies management operations worldwide. The company also will provide a range of information assurance and network operations support services for the center.
The prime contractor is Pragmatics Inc., also of McLean, Va., a privately owned company that provides IT services to federal military and civilian agencies.
The subcontract supports a task order under the Defense Systems Agency’s Next Generation Engineering Contract awarded in April 2005. Alion has provided similar services to the Joint Spectrum Center under a different contract for many years.
The center is the Defense Department’s research hub for use of electromagnetic spectrum for national security and military objectives. —Roseanne Gerin
GSA extends its Networx deadlines again
The General Services Administration is granting another one-month extension on the due dates for industry responses to its 10-year, $20 billion Networx telecommunications and data contract, an agency spokeswoman said earlier this month.
The deadlines are now Oct. 5 for the Universal portion of Networx and Oct. 7 for the Enterprise portion, said Mary Alice Johnson, a GSA spokeswoman.
“In response to requests from potential industry offerers for more time to submit proposals, we have granted an extension of one month,” she said.
In June, GSA decided to push back the original deadline of Aug. 3 for Universal and Aug. 5 for Enterprise by 30 days, to Sept. 6 and Sept. 8, respectively.
Networx Universal will provide government locations with a wide range of telecom services nationwide, while Enterprise will offer specialized Internet protocol and wireless services in specific geographical areas. GSA will issue multiple awards for both in April 2006. —Roseanne Gerin
Education hires help for data exchange
The Education Department has awarded Perot Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas, a contract potentially worth $20 million to operate, maintain and enhance the department’s Data Exchange Network, the company announced earlier this month. The three-month contract has four one-year options.
Under the contract, Perot Systems’ government services subsidiary will provide support for ongoing data definition, acquisition, usage, quality and infrastructure. The company also will provide support for knowledge management, information technology platform infrastructure and capacity building.
Perot Systems will provide additional network enhancements as required and ordered by the department.
The network, called Eden, will enable the federal government and state education agencies to transfer and analyze information about education programs through analysis and reporting tools.
The tools will allow users to obtain organized and formatted information about the status and progress of education in states, districts and schools.
The initiative was developed and implemented under the Performance-Based Data Management Initiative, which develops standards and guidelines for transforming the way the Education Department manages its data collection and information management business. —Roseanne Gerin
Army readies an RFP for its $20b ITES2
The Army is expected to finally release a request for proposals for its $20 billion contract vehicle for IT equipment and services by the end of next week, despite two lengthy delays that had kept the request bottlenecked in reviews and evaluations.
Information Technology Enterprise Solutions-2 Services is a consolidated contract vehicle for products and services that will serve as a follow-on to the original ITES program.
The contract vehicle will run for nine years.
Contracts will likely be awarded in the fall. The Army tapped 17 companies to compete for contracts and expects to award eight contracts, four to large businesses and four to businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees.
“My understanding is that we are approaching our last review and should be releasing at the end of this month,” said Kevin Carroll, the Army’s program executive officer for enterprise information systems.
The Army initially planned to release the RFP for ITES-2S in late April and then in early summer, but ditched both plans to refine its performance-based contracting focus, which supports the Army’s enterprise infrastructure goals.
—Dawn S. Onley
N.Y.-area ports sign deal to boost security
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has signed a $5.2 million contract with BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va., to implement the third phase of a program to improve security procedures for cargo entering the United States, the company said earlier this month.
Under Phase III of the Operation Safe Commerce project, BearingPoint will use technologies tested in the previous phase to monitor containers for any breaches. The technologies will improve the reliability of the containers and the stuffing and transit processes.
The third phase will use a layered approach to security rather than rely on a single process, component or device and will be subject to stress testing in high-volume trade routes.
Funded by a federal grant, Operation Safe Commerce is a public-private initiative that provides a test bed for evaluating container security techniques from point of origin through destination point, while ensuring the efficient cross-border movement of commerce.
The Homeland Security Department oversees the project, and the Office for Domestic Preparedness is the primary grant coordinator. The project also is being conducted at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California and Seattle and Tacoma in Washington state. —Roseanne Gerin
OMB issues reminder on Section 508
The General Services Administration has developed an electronic guide to help agencies comply with Section 508 requirements to make electronic data accessible to people with disabilities.
Agencies must follow the Federal Acquisition Regulation for Section 508, including adhering to standards for accessibility by persons with disabilities, when purchasing electronic and IT products and services.
The Office of Management and Budget issued a reminder to CIOs and chief acquisition officers earlier this month.
GSA’s new wizard, at www.buyaccessible.gov, can determine whether Section 508 applies to an acquisition, identify which standards apply, develop wording for a procurement solicitation and document the compliance.
Holders of government purchase cards may also use the wizard to ensure compliance when making micropurchases, which are no longer exempt from Section 508 re- quirements, the OMB memo said.
More information on best practices and training is available at www.section508.gov.
OPM IT staff gets A-76 win for second time
Fifty-two Office of Personnel Management IT workers in Macon, Ga., determined they could save about $900,000 over five years by re-engineering how they do their jobs.
The IT specialists developed a proposal under the streamlined competition rules of OMB Circular A-76 to improve how they do their work and to save money, including cutting overtime by 40 percent. OPM found its employees could do the work for $9 million less than the private sector over five years.
The streamlined competition under A-76 lets agencies compete 65 or fewer employee positions by either soliciting proposals from contractors or conducting market research from multiple award schedule contracts.
This is the second A-76 competition IT workers at the Macon, Ga., facility have won in the past year. Last September, OPM awarded, through a streamlined competition, a competitive-sourcing study to 21 computer assistants and one building management assistant in the facility’s Division for Human Resources Products and Services’ Center for Talent Services.
Employees have won 12 of 13 streamlined competitions and one of two standard competitions since the new A-76 rules came into effect in 2003. —Jason Miller
Intel offers its support to muni WiFi projects
Despite the flack local governments have been getting from telecommunications companies and some legislatures, an impressive roster of technology companies, led by Intel Corp., has decided to throw its weight behind municipal wireless networks.
Earlier this month, Intel an- nounced its Digital Communities initiative, which will help cities design and deploy WiFi networks for everything from public Internet access to supporting city services.
Under the initiative, Intel and other companies will act as advisers and provide free engineering aid, according to Anand Chandrasekher, vice president and director of Intel’s sales and marketing division. Technology partners include CDW-G Inc. of Vernon Hills, Ill., Cisco Systems Inc., IBM Corp., SAP America Inc. of Newtown Square, Pa., and Tropos Networks Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.
In conjunction with the new wireless push, CDW-G solutions architect Imran Abbas offered a series of considerations local governments should address before going wireless. Among them are determining exactly what the networks will be used for, accurately balancing cost versus coverage area, and factoring security and access management requirements into the overall business case. —Brad Grimes
GSA plans database for terrorism info
The General Services Administration is asking industry to provide a governmentwide, searchable database of information, organizations, services and personnel related to each agency’s mission in the war on terrorism.
GSA released a request for information earlier this month. Responses to the RFI are due Sept. 7.
GSA hopes the database satisfies the requirements of Section 1016 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act to create an effective information sharing environment (ISE).
In the sources-sought document, GSA said the database must demonstrate an initial capability to locate and access terrorism information and be accessible to the federal government, with a clear path for early expansion to state, local and tribal officials, law enforcement, the private sector and foreign allies.
To read the RFI, go to www.gcn.com and enter 481 in the Quickfind box. —Jason Miller
OPM finalizes IT Exchange Program rules
Nearly three years after the E-Government Act of 2002 established a program for senior federal employees to gain up to two years’ experience in the private sector, the Office of Personnel Management has finalized how the program works.
OPM’s final rule was published in the Federal Register. A candidate must: be in the field of IT management; be considered an exceptional employee; be expected to assume increased IT management responsibilities in the future; and be a member of the Senior Executive Service or an employee at General Schedule Grade 11 or higher.
To read the final rules, go to www.gcn.com and enter 480 in the Quickfind box. —Jason Miller
Coming soon: a secure, mobile all-in-one device
The National Security Agency has awarded General Dynamics Corp. an $18 million contract to design and develop a secure mobile phone/personal digital assistant, the company said late last month.
The device will provide secure voice and data communications, including e-mail, Web access and file viewing. It will operate on existing commercial cellular networks and will have modular architecture for connectivity to a wide array of wireless protocols.
It also will hook into the Defense Department’s public-key infrastructure using the government’s standard Common Access Card.
The contract, awarded to the General Dynamics C4 Systems business unit, is part of the Secure Mobile Environment program, which calls for a single device for government users who require “Type 1” security for wireless access to the government’s Secure IP Router Network for secure Web browsing and messaging.
The company is expected to begin deliveries of the secure phone-PDA in the second quarter of 2007. —Roseanne Gerin