Defense homes in on new infrastructure vendors

Defense homes in on new infrastructure vendors

By years end, the Defense Information Systems Agency plans to award a slew of contracts to build a network-centric infrastructure that will serve Defense Department users at 90 sites around the globe.

DISA officials said they will award contracts next month for fiber-optic network services under the Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion program. Meanwhile, DISA also is wrapping up tests of products at vendor sites in preparation for awarding contracts in December for GIG-BE hardware and software.

The winning vendors of what the GIG-BE team calls the fiber solutions contracts will have to establish fiber service delivery points as well as oversee network management, information and physical security, and commercial transport leases. Originally, DISA had hoped to award these contracts in midsummer [see story].

For the hardware and software portion of project, GIG-BE program director Tony Montemarano described the current phase of the procurement as the 'bake-off process.'

DISA and prime contractor Science Applications International Corp. are visiting bidders to make sure that their systems can do what each vendor outlined in its proposal.

'We watch their machines perform,' Montemarano said.

Based on the demonstrations, DISA will ask some of bidders to send their hardware and software to AT&T Labs in Middletown, N.J., for two and half months more testing, he added.

The contracts will cover four areas: core and edge IP routers, multiservice provisioning platforms, optical transport systems and optical digital cross-connect switches.

DOD estimates it will spend $877 million to build the GIG network infrastructure.

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