DISA finally names DREN vendor

DISA finally names DREN vendor

The Defense Information Systems Agency has ended 10 months of controversy over which of five vendors will build the Defense Research and Engineering Network, selecting WorldCom Inc. for the 10-year, $450 million contract.

WorldCom will build a high-performance network to connect more than 6,000 Defense Department scientists and engineers at supercomputing laboratories, test centers, universities and industrial sites across the country. The three-year base period for the deal is worth $70 million.

With the announcement of the winner, DISA put an end to the procurement controversy. It originally had awarded the DREN contract to Global Crossing Ltd., a Bermuda company now under bankruptcy protection.

'WorldCom was selected as the responsible offeror that provided the best value to the government in terms of technical solution, price and past performance,' DISA spokeswoman Betsy Flood said.

Last summer, DISA made its initial award. But a month later, the agency rescinded the contract after the four other bidders'AT&T Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver, Sprint Communications Corp. and WorldCom'protested.

DISA opened the bidding again in December, saying it expected to announce the winner in January. But just days before the announcement, Global Crossing filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and DISA postponed the award announcement. In late February, the agency again extended the selection period [GCN, March 18, Page 16].

'This has been a suspenseful process,' Sprint spokesman John Polivka said. 'We provided what we thought was a high-quality bid. We're disappointed in the outcome, but it is only one of many contracts we are pursuing.'

Response uncertain

A Global Crossing spokeswoman said officials at her company are still studying the announcement from the Defense Department and are unsure whether or not they will file a protest.

'We're naturally disappointed that the DREN contract went to another provider,' spokeswoman Karyn Price said from the company's Madison, N.J., offices. 'DOD first determined that our technical management and solutions were the best value. They since raised concern about our restructuring and the Chapter 11 filing.'

The DREN vendor must design, develop and manage a secure network for users throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and other U.S. territories.

Work on the contract will begin later this month.

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