DOD IG: Failures in NetCents jeopardize classified info

DOD IG report on NetCents (.pdf)

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Information assurance failures in a major Air Force procurement program could let foreign governments access classified Defense Department information.

That was one major problem the DOD inspector general identified in an audit of the Air Force Network-Centric Solutions contract released July 2.

“The NetCents contracts were not complete with respect to information assurance requirements,” the IG reported.

As a result, NetCents task orders also could fail to support defense systems during contingency operations and could compromise the physical security of federally controlled facilities and information, the report stated.

NetCents is a $9 billion multiple-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity Air Force contract that provides networking equipment and systems engineering, installation, integration, operations, and maintenance to the Air Force, DOD and other federal agencies. The Air Force chief information officer required that the service use NetCents for all networking and information technology requirements.

The information assurance problems resulted from the omission of five required clauses from NetCents contracts. The omission of a clause that mandates contractor disclosure of foreign government interest could allow contractors owned by a foreign government access to sensitive information, the report said.

The IG also said that under federal regulations, “no contract under a national security program may be awarded to an entity controlled by a foreign government if that entity requires access to proscribed information to perform the contract.”

The IG also concluded that NetCents program officials improperly designed their small-business set-aside. As a result, the program “circumvented small-business policies and may not provide all prime contractors with a fair opportunity to bid on task orders.”

Small businesses may have lost the opportunity to bid on $885 million of NetCents task orders, the report said.

The Air Force concurred with most of the criticisms in the report but disagreed with its small-business set-aside conclusions.

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