DOD cuts fiber for research

DOD cuts fiber for research

The Defense Department has cancelled a $400 million contract with Global Crossing Ltd. of Hamilton, Bermuda, to add advanced fiber-optic services to the Defense Research and Engineering Network connecting more than 6,000 scientists and engineers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and other U.S. territories.

The move by the Defense Information Systems Agency came in response to four protests lodged by AT&T Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver, Sprint Corp. and WorldCom Inc.

In a letter to the General Accounting Office this week, DISA announced its intent to cancel the award. 'The agency will take corrective action to ensure that the procurement of DREN complies with the applicable acquisition regulations,' the letter said.

DISA officials would not comment on speculation that they will later reopen the competition.

Kelly Malarkey, spokeswoman for Global Crossing, said her company had received notice of DISA's intent from GAO but had not heard directly from DISA. 'We are still optimistic, and we're certainly confident that we will be the winner' in the end, Malarkey said.

The contract being cancelled has a three-year base with seven optional years, worth at least $137 million and up to $400 million if DOD exercises all options. DREN is part of DOD's High-Performance Computing Modernization Program.

Global Crossing's government markets unit in Washington was to design, develop and manage the advanced services linking DOD laboratories, test centers, universities and industry sites on a single, contiguous-fiber network with IP and asynchronous transfer mode transmission for video, audio and data.

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