DISN leads to series of additional Defense telecommunications buys

The Defense Information Systems Network program has spawned smaller telecommunications
projects for Defense Department users.


Besides a large DOD-wide support contract—DISN Network Management Support
Services-Global—that the Defense Information Systems Agency expects to award later
this year, DISA also wants to build a metropolitan area network to support users in the
Washington area.


Bell Atlantic Corp. now serves 165,000 telephone users in DOD’s National Capital
Region through a contract that will expire in December 2001. DISA plans to issue a request
for proposals for the Washington-area MAN before October and award a contract by the
middle of next year.


DISA officials said the agency also will exercise a technology insertion option for
switches on the DISN Switched Bandwidth Manager Services contract it awarded to MCI
Communications Corp. The department placed orders for the switches this month and wants
MCI to install them starting in October.


Meanwhile, the procurement for DISN services for users in Europe is on hold while DOD
studies the World Trade Organization Basic Telecommunications Agreement that members of
the European Union signed in January.


The European DISN backbone, if built, will be smaller than the U.S. backbone, DOD
officials said. DISA will use existing contracts, in-house resources and some new
contracts to build it.


"We will treat bandwidth as a commodity—the largest cost driver," said
Lt. Gen. David Kelley, DISA’s director. "That will allow us to take advantage of
future market conditions for integration, network management and switching."


Kelley said a fiber-optic ring connecting the German bases at Ramstein, Landstuhl,
Stuttgart, Vaihingen and Heidelburg will avoid high distribution costs in central Europe
and will save the department about $5 million annually in transatlantic communications
costs.


DISA last month released a draft RFP for DISN-Pacific transmission services. The final
RFP will come out in August, and DISA plans to award a contract by the middle of next
year.


"In the Pacific, the Hawaiian Information Transfer System is in execution, and we
are bundling circuits to offer spare capacity at cheaper prices between Hawaii and
Japan," Kelley said.

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