DISA launches second NCES collaboration tool procurement

NCES Collaboration Tools Request for Quotes

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Defense Information Systems Agency has released its second solicitation for Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) online collaboration tools and expects to award the contract in June, DISA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Croom said Jan. 25 at the AFCEA SpaceComm 2007 conference, sponsored by the Rocky Mountain chapter of AFCEA International.

DISA has decided to use the federated search tool developed by the intelligence community for its Intelink integrated intelligence site for NCES, Croom said. Phil Dixon, Defense Department manager for the Google Enterprise division, said Google search is at the heart of Intelink.

DISA awarded the first NCES collaboration tool contract, valued at $17 million, to IBM in July 2006, and the second award should provide users throughout DOD with competitive choices for collaboration tools that will lead contractors to continually refresh their offerings, Croom said.

The IBM NCES collaboration tool offering is built around the company’s Lotus Sametime software suite, which includes instant messaging, Web conferencing, white board tools, application sharing, broadcasting, chat, and audio and video capabilities.

Croom said he wants the second NCES tool suite to include instant messaging that can operate over low-bandwidth circuits for use by tactical users.

DISA had been working to develop its own federated search capability but then decided to adapt the already developed Intelink search capability, Croom said.

DISA does not have to develop its own tools if it can adapt already proven tools from other agencies, he said. DISA expects to have the Intelink search available to users on unclassified DOD networks in March and secret networks in August, Croom said.

Federated search goes well beyond the Internet search familiar to millions of Google users, Dixon said. Federated searches can tap into database silos – some running under different search engines with different rules than Google has – and then present the user with results culled from a variety of sources.

Companies vying for the second NCES collaboration tool contract include integrators such as Boeing and telecommunications companies such as Verizon, Federal Computer Week has learned. PCNet and Global Commerce and Services indicated their interest in the NCES bid on the contracting Web site operated by the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization.

The organization has issued a request for quotes on NCES tools to vendors who hold General Services Administration Schedule 70 contracts.

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