GAO tosses Global Crossing's DREN protest

GAO tosses Global Crossing's DREN protest

The General Accounting Office yesterday threw out the final protest of the 10-year, $450 million Defense Research and Engineering Network contract.

The Defense Information Systems Agency can now proceed with the contract, which it awarded in April to WorldCom Inc., to build a research network for Defense Department and other researchers.

The protest, from Global Crossing Ltd. of Bermuda, was one of three that had been filed with GAO. AT&T Corp. and Sprint Corp. withdrew their protests late last month.

Dan Gordon, associate general counsel for GAO, said GAO sided with DISA's determination that Global Crossing was a 'nonresponsible' contender for the contract. The vendor did not have the financial soundness to compete for the project, DISA officials had argued.

'We found the agency's determination reasonable,' Gordon said.

Global Crossing had originally won the DREN contract but lost it last summer following an earlier round of protests. During the second competition, DISA chose WorldCom and said it offered the best value.

'GAO has notified DISA of its decision to deny Global Crossing's protest. We are pleased that GAO has upheld DISA's decision to award the DREN contract to WorldCom,' DISA spokeswoman Betsy Flood said.

A comment from Global Crossing was not immediately available.

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