Vendors await Space Command RFP

AF Space Command Uni-Comm Procurement

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Three major vendors used the AFCEA Spacecomm 2007 conference here to position themselves for an upcoming Air Force Space Command information technology services procurement, which those vendors valued at $800 million.

EDS, Verizon and Northrop Grumman officials said they will pursue the command’s Uniform Communications (Uni-Comm) project, an eight-year program to provide a single, unified network serving employees at 19 command sites.

Robert Cunningham, executive director for advanced programs in the EDS government solutions group, said the Uni-Comm services contract will cover 40,000 command workers and in some ways mirrors the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) contract EDS holds, with services provided down to the desktop computer level.

Cunningham said EDS’ experience with NMCI and a similar managed services contract with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense positions the company to provide a similar unified service for the command.

Scott Hammell, director of Air Force infrastructure and services at Northrop Grumman, said the Uni-Comm contract could become a template for IT services contracts servicewide. The company already manages a similar IT services contract at Los Angles Air Force Base, he added.

Phillip Hall, a business development and strategic planning manager at Verizon Federal, said his company will bring its experience in managing similar commercial and government IT services contract to the Uni-Comm job.

The command kicked off the Uni-Comm procurement in December 2005. It aims to consolidate multiple IT contracts into one vehicle, eliminating the management and cost inefficiencies inherent in operating multiple contracts at multiple sites. Services provided under the contract would include secret and unclassified data and voice networks.

The command said in a Jan. 10 notice that it has not yet made an acquisition strategy decision, but plans to release a draft request for proposals this spring with a final RFP planned this summer and start of the contract in October 2008.

Cunningham said he believes part of the delay may be because the command is still deliberating on whether the Uni-Comm contract should be a small-business set-aside.

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