Justice narrows IWN race to two

General Dynamics, Lockheed to compete for contract to design nationwide wireless system

WHAT IS IT? Integrated Wireless
Network is a next-generation
system to integrate voice and
data for law enforcement communications.
Some 80,000 law
enforcement personnel in the
Homeland Security, Justice
and Treasury departments are
slated to use IWN at about
2,500 sites nationwide.


WHO'S IN CHARGE? Justice runs
the IWN Joint Program Office,
with participation by DHS and
Treasury.


HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? Estimates
range from $3 billion to
$30 billion, depending on future
participation by state and
local agencies.


WHAT'S THE LATEST? Justice
tapped Lockheed Martin Corp.
and General Dynamics Corp. in
the second-stage downselect
for IWN. The two winning companies
will draft design plans
and compete for the IWN
buildout stage.


WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? Justice
is more than a year behind on
its earlier schedule for reaching
this stage of the acquisition.


WHAT'S THE TECHNOLOGY? Justice
is allowing vendors to create
their own technical approaches
via a statement of
objectives. Vendors and government
officials alike expect the
system to rely on the Project 25
industry standard that many
commercial suppliers support.


WHAT'S THE BUZZ? Motorola
teamed with BearingPoint Inc.
of McLean, Va., integrator of
the scuttled Emerge2 enterprise
resource planning
project at DHS and ejected
incumbent of an Interior
Department ERP project.


Motorola Inc.'s team also includes
Science Applications
International Corp. of San
Diego, which the FBI blamed
for wasting $100 million in
the Virtual Case File investigative
case management
system fiasco.

COMPATIBILITY: The IWN project aims for 'near-instant communication availability and system response, highly reliable communications, and physical and encryption security,' Justice CIO Vance Hitch says.

More than a year behind
schedule, the Justice Department
now is ready to enter
the thicket of federal, state and
local government radio interoperability.


Justice earlier this month
awarded General Dynamics
Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp.
two separate contracts to compete
in a 'bake-off' for the nationwide
law enforcement voice and
data radio system under the Integrated
Wireless Network program.


IWN constitutes the federal
government's high-tech answer
to the radio interoperability
mess that cost lives during terrorist
attacks in 2001.


'By providing near-instant
communication availability and
system response, highly reliable
communications, and physical
and encryption security features
that minimize interception of
sensitive communications, IWN
will make law enforcement and
protective operations more effective,
efficient and safe,' said Justice
CIO Vance Hitch in a statement.


IWN spending could range
from $3 billion to $30 billion
over the life of the contract,
which could extend as long as 15
years.


Temporary fix

Contracting delays that have
stretched the ambitious project
out by more than a year recently
prompted the Homeland Security
Department to put its shoulder
more strongly behind its SAFECOM
program for an interim fix
[GCN, June 5, page 44]. In 2004,
Justice issued a draft timeline for
IWN that projected a contract
award in May 2005. Changes in
requirements prompted some of
the project delay, sources said.


Now that Justice has chosen
two vendors to compete under
Phase 3 of the program, the companies
will create systems designs
that the joint program of-
fice, an entity that also includes
the Homeland Security and Treasury
departments, will evaluate
to choose the ultimate vendor by
late 2006.


'Phase 3 is a design competition,'
Justice said in a statement.
'In the upcoming months, General
Dynamics and Lockheed
Martin will prepare and submit
for government review nonproprietary
designs and implementation
plans for a specific geographic
area of the country.'


Several law enforcement agencies
within Justice, DHS and
Treasury are slated to begin
using IWN first. State, local and
other agencies could join the
radio network in the future, depending
on funding.


IWN is designed to provide secure
voice, data and multimedia
communications to federal law
enforcement agencies. It also is
intended to provide interoperable
communications with state,
local and tribal law enforcement
and homeland security agencies.


General Dynamics' contract
team also includes IBM Corp.;
M/A-COM of Lowell, Mass.;
Nortel Government Solutions of
Fairfax, Va.; and Verizon Wireless
of Laurel, Md.


Lockheed formed a team with
Arinc Inc. of Annapolis, Md.; Deloitte
Consulting LLP of New
York; Lucent Technologies Inc. of
Murray Hill, N.J.; Qualcomm
Inc. of San Diego; and Sprint Corp.


Also-rans

In picking General Dynamics
and Lockheed, the IWN Joint
Program Office, which Justice
manages, spurned a bidding
team led by Motorola Inc. of
Schaumberg, Ill., that was widely
viewed as leading the contract
competition because of its broad
acceptance in the law enforcement
market.


Justice also eliminated a team
led by Raytheon Co.


Motorola has fielded countless
law enforcement radio units at
all levels of government for more
than six decades, and the company
holds more than a dozen contracts
to provide radio service to
federal agencies, all of which it
now stands to lose. Motorola apparently
could recover some of
its business by joining the team
Justice chooses as a subcontracting
equipment supplier.


Motorola spokeswoman Adrian
Dimopoulos said after the
contract award was announced,
'We look forward to playing a
role in IWN either as equipment
or services provider.' She
added, 'We are certainly disappointed'
about the result of the
downselect.


General Dynamics appeared
open to the prospect of bringing
Motorola into its contracting
team. Jeff Osman, General Dynamics'
IWN program executive,
said, 'If there is equipment out
there that meet[s] our program
requirements, we will evaluate
that equipment to see if it fits our
solution. I wouldn't exclude any
alternatives going forward, Motorola
included.'


General Dynamics has supplied
about 25,000 GPS-equipped radios
for The Hook, a communications
system the Pentagon uses
for aircrew search and rescue as
well as special operations, the
company said.


IWN is expected to coordinate
in some way with the Secure
Border Initiative, because
SBI.net requirements encourage
use of such advanced technology.
But vendor executives on the
winning IWN teams said it was
too early to predict how the two
programs would mesh, because
DHS has not issued an SBI.net
contract yet.


IWN likely will complete its
final competitive downselect between
Lockheed Martin and
General Dynamics in the fall of
2006, industry sources said.
SBI.net is due to spawn a contract
during or shortly after September
2006.


IWN will most likely be implemented
starting in early 2007,
sources said. The contracting authorities
have not committed the
government to a firm deployment
schedule, sources close to
the procurement process said.


Other industry analysts noted
that the government could seek
to convince General Dynamics
and Lockheed to form a team for
the long-term systems integration
contract.


'The view around the Beltway
of this project is relief that a decision
has finally emerged,' said
one industry analyst.

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