DISA delays contract award for DREN again

DISA delays contract award for DREN again

For the second time in two months, the Defense Information Systems Agency has delayed the award of a $400 million network contract.

On Feb. 27, Anne M. Hellman, contracting officer for the Defense Research and Engineering Network, sent a letter to the five DREN bidders informing them of a 45-day extension.

In the letter, Hellman asked 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 if they would accept the extension.

Still in the running

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

All five vendors accepted the extension, which pushed the award to April 18.

Last summer, DISA had awarded the now-bankrupt Global Crossing the DREN contract, but protests by the other bidders prompted the agency to rescind it and reopen the competition. DISA issued a revised request for proposals in the fall and initially said it would make a new award by Jan. 25.

Days before the scheduled award date, the agency notified the companies that it would delay the selection until March 4 and then in February said it would need another 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 was within its right to extend the proposal period. She added that such an extension is not unusual and declined to comment on why the agency asked for the extra time.

DREN, a project under 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 up to $400 million if DOD exercises all options.

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