Navy extends deadline for intranet services bids

Navy extends deadline for intranet services bids

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

Although the Navy recently pushed back the bid deadline for its multibillion-dollar PC and Internet services outsourcing buy, the service still plans to award a contract in June.

Proposals for the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet project were originally due Feb. 1, but the service bumped the deadline to Feb. 14 in response to requests from potential bidders.

Vendors have been skeptical of the project from the get-go. For months, vendors have questioned the Navy's ability to work with the Marine Corps and award a single NMCI contract in less than a year.

Aggressive move

But senior Navy officials have said repeatedly that they purposely set an aggressive schedule to avoid having the purchase become bogged down by a technical debate within the service. Lee Buchanan, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, has said the service wants to use commercial services and practices whenever possible for NMCI.

And a memorandum from the chief of naval operations, Adm. Jay L. Johnson, will likely forestall any balking by the Corps. In his Jan. 10 memo, Johnson said NMCI would be mandatory and that all Navy and Marine Corps commands must participate in NMCI within a year.

Corps officials acknowledged that they are in a bit of a quandary about the procurement because of the uncertain costs. Brig. Gen. Robert M. Shea, the Corps' chief information officer, said the service is fully behind NMCI, although officials are uncertain what the per-seat costs will be under the contract.

Even though Corps offices can tap their operations and maintenance budgets to pay for NMCI services, there are still limits, Shea said.

Budget restraints

'When it's all said and done, if it's going to take 50 to 60 percent of the commandant's discretionary budget, we can't do that,' he said. 'If it means giving up some of our warfighting capabilities for nice-to-have features, we can't do that because that's our reason for being. We don't want it to be a quid pro quo.'

Four vendor teams'led by Computer Sciences Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp., General Dynamics Corp. and IBM Corp.'are working on bids and readying five-hour oral presentations.

The presentations are slated to begin Feb. 21.


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