ITES-2S sequel features same cast of contractors

Given a second opportunity to consider the field of bidders, the Army has picked the exact same 11 companies to provide services under the Information Technology Enterprise Solutions – 2 Services (ITES-2S) contract.

ITES-2S is the Army’s $20 billion, nine-year contract vehicle meant to provide a broad range of IT services and solutions. It is central to the service’s drive to develop a global network-centric enterprise and is a follow-on to the $1 billion ITES-EMS3 contract issued in 2003.

After the initial awards were announced April 14, five losing bidders filed protests with the Government Accountability Office. In May, the Army announced it was withdrawing the awards, pending further consideration.

But, “the eleven indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts initially awarded…remain in effect,” the Army said in a press release.

The service remains tight-lipped on the reasons it withdrew the April awards while GAO was investigating the protest claims. But Army officials realize a new round of protests could be filed.

“We expect it to probably go back to protest on all or some of the other issues that were raised,” said Kevin Carroll, Program Executive Officer for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS).

PEO-EIS’ Army Small Computer Program, along with the Army Contracting Agency’s IT, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center and Network Enterprise Technology Command, issued the awards.

Among the issues involved, protesters claimed that the Army made the awards based on price considerations after indicating they would consider best value foremost. If protests are filed anew, GAO will have 100 days to issue its ruling. Any work on ITES-2S could be on hold until late October.

Overall, protest frequency is increasing in tandem with the increasing size and scope of major contract vehicles, such as ITES-2S. This is compounded by pressure inside the defense department to use only DOD contracts for purchasing, Carroll said.

“What’s happening in the DOD is more pressure on everybody to buy within the DOD contracts,” he said. Department customers are not allowed to go outside to GSA and other agencies, he added.

As a result, losing vendors, who used to have alternative selling options, face the possibility of being locked out of DOD business for decades at a time, Carrol said.

The large-business awards went to Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI-ISS, Computer Sciences Corp., EDS, General Dynamics, IBM, Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Science Applications, International Corp. Apptis, QSS, and STG won the small-business prizes.

The original protests were filed by BAE Systems North America, NCI Information Systems, Northrop Grumman, Multimax and Pragmatics.

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