DISA again delays DREN contract award

DISA again delays DREN contract award

For the second time in five weeks, the Defense Information Systems Agency has delayed the reaward of a $400 million network contract.

On Thursday, Anne M. Hellman, DISA's contracting officer for the Defense Research and Engineering Network, sent a letter to the five bidders informing them of the 45-day extension.

In the letter, Hellman asked the companies'AT&T Corp., Global Crossing Ltd. of Bermuda, Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver, Sprint Communications Corp. and WorldCom Inc.'to notify her in writing by close of business today if they are willing to accept the extension.

Failure to do so, Hellman wrote, 'will result in your offer no longer being considered for award.'

Last summer, DISA awarded Global Crossing the contract, but the remaining four bidders protested to the General Accounting Office. The protests prompted DISA to rescind the award and reopen the competition.

DISA issued a new request for proposals in the fall and accepted bids Dec. 4. The agency originally planned to make a new award Jan. 25. But on that day, DISA notified the companies that it would delay the selection until today.

Late last week, however, DISA again announced plans to delay the award and said it would need an additional 45 days to select a winner.

'The extension heightens the anticipation over this award and affirms we're still in the running,' a Sprint spokesman said. 'We're confident that the government will arrive at the best customer solution.'

DISA spokeswoman Betsy Flood said the agency is within its right to extend the proposal period.

'A request for extension of the acceptance period is not unusual,' she said. 'Information regarding why an award will not be made within a stated acceptance period is source selection information and is not releasable.'

DREN, part of DOD's High-Performance Computing Modernization Program, will connect more than 6,000 scientists and engineers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and other U.S. territories. The contract will have a three-year base period with seven option years. It will be worth at least $137 million and as much as $400 million if DOD exercises all options.

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