VA to study IT acquisition needs before Peaches 3 decision

The Veterans Affairs Department selected LMI Government Consulting of McLean, Va., to analyze the agency's future IT acquisition needs and recommend the type of procurement vehicle it should use to acquire hardware and software in the future.

The evaluation comes amid discussion about whether or how to go forward with VA's next-generation departmentwide Procurement of Computer Hardware and Software, known as Peaches 3.

LMI will perform the study over the next 60 days, said VA CIO Robert McFarland. After LMI submits their recommendations, McFarland said he will decide whether to use Peaches 3 or some other contract vehicle. Peaches 3 could be worth up to $4.2 billion over five years, he said VA has estimated.

VA plans to purchase storage, networks, security, Internet protocol communications, health care automation, documentation and data services with Peaches 3. The department released a draft request for proposals in July, but McFarland said he was not satisfied with it. He does not want to repeat weaknesses of the Peaches 2 contract, which expires in 2007, and he wants to assure that veterans' businesses share in the contract work.

LMI will analyze the types of contract vehicles VA could use in light of VA's future requirements and restructuring of its IT organization as a result of IT budget authority being transferred to the department CIO.

'We have been grappling with how to do another round. There are a lot of changing needs, and I want to be sure that we just don't assume that we are going to do something because we've done it in the past,' McFarland said.

The final RFP was originally planned for February and a contract was to be awarded in April 2006. Those dates will likely be pushed out. If VA uses Peaches 3, it would be awarded this fiscal year, McFarland said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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