Air Force will expand systems support with BPAs worth up to $500 million

The Air Force has negotiated a series of blanket purchasing agreements to give its
command and control programs a range of systems support services.

The Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., the contracting agency
for the Information Technology Services Program (ITSP), in October issued an open-ended
invitation to vendors.

The center last month set buying agreements with nearly 40 vendors, including Andersen
Consulting of Chicago, Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Sterling Software Inc. of Dallas.

This month the service negotiated BPAs with 15 more vendors, including Computers
Sciences Corp. and Litton PRC Inc.

“We haven’t given any parameters on a minimum or maximum number of BPA
awards,” said Steve Linchey, ITSP contracting officer. “We can award BPAs, but
it’s up to the vendors to market themselves for consideration by Air Force users to
meet their support requirements. These BPAs are really only access accounts for

All told, the BPAs could be worth as much as $500 million, he said.

The center considered as BPA team leaders only those vendors that hold General Services
Administration schedule contracts, Linchey said. Vendors without schedule contracts,
however, can participate as subcontractors.

Because GSA contracts are already established, the center did not have the
administrative burden of conducting costly and time-consuming indefinite-delivery,
indefinite-quantity procurements, he said.

Center units, including the Cryptological Systems Group, Materiel Systems Group,
Standard Systems Group and 38th Engineering Installation Wing, will use the BPAs.

The BPAs under ITSP replace, in part, the Technical and Engineering Management Support
IV Program, a set of eight five-year IDIQ contracts.

The IT services provided under the BPAs include development planning analyses, software
engineering and financial management, Linchey said.

The Air Force center in September 1997 first unveiled its plans for the BPAs. But weeks
later the service suspended efforts to establish new BPAs due to concerns about the
unregulated growth of such agreements.

The Air Force banned the negotiation of new BPAs until an integrated product team could
study the issue.

“We had no choice but to stand in a holding pattern while the Air Force-wide
moratorium was in place,” Linchey said. “For an excess of six months, we were in

The Air Force in May lifted the seven-month ban.

The integrated product team concluded that the service needed to apply sound business
judgment on a case-by-case basis as to whether to use BPAs.

“The IPT’s recommendations didn’t change our overall strategy, but
different things had to be fine-tuned,” Linchey said. “When we reopened the
invitation in October, we had to scrap 50 contractor submissions” and request new


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