Vivid bidders cut teeth on Navy's fictitious air base

That's why the service encouraged Vivid bidders to max out their creative talents on a
fictitious naval air station called NAS Anywhere.


"NAS Anywhere does not exist, but its characteristics are everywhere," said
Nikki Isfahani, head of the Navy's information technology umbrella contracts group.


"We tried to put an umbrella contract into place that would meet diversified
needs, but we didn't want to inhibit the imagination of the solutions," she said.


The new base infrastructures, however designed, will bring integrated voice, video and
data to users' desktops. Detailed configuration management and a range of digital
transmission options, including asynchronous transfer mode, Synchronous Optical Network
and TCP/IP, will replace analog network services.


The Naval Information Systems Management Center awarded contracts for the $2.9 billion,
10-year program to Lucent Technologies Inc. of McLeansville, N.C., and GTE Government
Systems Corp. of Needham, Mass. [GCN, Aug. 4,Page 1]. Two other winners, AT&T Corp.
and Bell Atlantic Corp., turned down contracts for local telephone services under Vivid.


In drawing up plans, the Navy faced the common problem of setting broad, complex
requirements for technology that was changing so fast the specifications would be obsolete
before the award date.


"We didn't want to give answers" to the bidders, Isfahani said, because those
answers probably would be inappropriate for implementation.


Bidders were told several things about the fictional station. It was built in the 1960s
without systematic communications planning. It had a leased cable plant that was
inadequate for current needs. The telephone system was predominantly analog, and the few
state-of-the-art systems used dedicated lines.


In designing proposals for this outdated station, bidders had to demonstrate the full
range of their ideas for land-based and land-to-ship communications.


Now that the Vivid contracts are in place, the umbrella group plans to build awareness
of the program through a series of conferences at Naval facilities over the next two
months.


The awareness tour will kick off Aug. 21-22 at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington,
Va. Stops are planned the week of Aug. 25 in Norfolk, Va.; the week of Sept. 1 in Hawaii;
the week of Sept. 8 in Seattle; the week of Sept. 15 in San Diego; Sept. 22-23 in
Jacksonville, Fla.; Sept. 24 in King's Bay, Ga.; Sept. 25-26 in Tampa, Fla.; and Sept.
29-30 in Newport, R.I.


For information about the Vivid tour, contact Mike Sessions, the Navy's head of Vivid
customer service, at 703-602-4526.


About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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