Treasury extends TCE proposal deadline and current contract

The Treasury Department likely will push out re-awarding its controversial 10-year, $1 billion Treasury Communications Enterprise contract. It has extended the date that proposals are due to Dec. 8.

At the same time, Treasury has extended by two years its current contract with incumbent Northrop Grumman Corp., which was awarded the Treasury Communications Services contract in 1995. That contract will not expire until September 2007, Treasury said in its posting this week.

Treasury did not say when it would award the contract. 'We hope to conclude the process as soon as practically possible,' said Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin.

The contractor will complete the transition to TCE in nine months from the notice to proceed, Treasury said in its posting. The winning contractor will have to take into consideration the seasonal impacts related to the IRS' tax season and the year-end financial reporting by Treasury's Financial Management Service and the Bureau of the Public Debt.

'The contractor's approach to and execution of this transition will be the most important factor to the government in evaluating the performance of the contractor in the base period of the contract,' Treasury said in its posting.

AT&T Corp. won the initial award in December 2004 to provide Treasury with next-generation data, video and voice communications connected into a single network infrastructure that will also enable operation of applications and services across the department. Currently, Treasury has multiple bureaus with independent networks connected through a distributed hub-and-spoke architecture.

The recompete is the result of an award protest that the Government Accountability Office sustained. The protest was based on the fact that Treasury did not inform bidders of an agreement that would impact the contract.

Unknown to the bidders at the time, Treasury had signed an agreement with the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget to pave the way for a move from the TCE when the base period expired to the governmentwide Networx contract when it became available.

That agreement was no longer in force when Treasury decided in August to reopen the bidding with the original vendors as GAO recommended, the Treasury spokeswoman said.

OMB made it clear during the original contracting process that it would steer agencies toward Networx instead of letting them strike their own deals to overhaul their networks.

Following GAO's ruling for the bidders in March, Treasury said it was going to use a GSA FTS 2001 telecommunications service provider and then move to Networx, but backpedaled in August, saying that the existing governmentwide contract did not meet its needs and that it would reopen the contract.

Besides AT&T, the vendors that previously submitted proposals and may do so for the recompete are Broadwing Communications LLC, Level-3 Communications Inc., MCI Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc. and Sprint Corp.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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