Air Force could move up award of Netcents contract

The Air Force might speed up the award date for its multibillion dollar Network Centric Solutions program to coincide with the Air Force Information Technology Conference later this month in Montgomery, Ala.

According to the Netcents Web site, the Air Force expects to award multiple contracts for IT products and services by Sept. 29. But a source said the service is hoping to award the contract a few weeks earlier, during the heavily attended AFITC symposium that starts Aug. 29.

A request for proposals on the $10 billion backbone buy was released in early April. The Air Force will award seven contracts'four to large companies and three to small businesses. The work under Netcents includes engineering, software development, integration, security and telephone services, plus voice, video and data hardware and software products.

Netcents replaces the Air Force's Unified Local Area Network Architecture II, or ULANA II, contract which expired in February 2003. The service has been using the Navy's Voice, Video and Data, or Vivid, contract.

An Air Force spokeswoman declined to discuss the five-year initiative, citing the close proximity to contract award.

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