Defense Agencies Look to Replace $3.7 Billion Procurement Dinosaur

Flickr user Michael Baird

Navy and DCMA seek new contract writing systems.

The Navy and the Defense Contract Management Agency have both started the process of replacing the 1996-vintage Defense Department Standard Procurement System, which managed 800,000 contracts worth $190 billion in 2011.

The Navy, in a request for information to potential vendors posted on FedBizOpps Saturday, said it wants to acquire an electronic procurement system to replace the contract writing capabilities of the Standard Procurement System. DCMA posted a Feb. 21 notice seeking similar, new contract writing software.

Navy officials said they are aiming to deploy the new system for training in fiscal 2014, with full operation by 2015. The service is seeking a commercial system that is ready to go “out of the box.” DCMA said it too wants to acquire a commercial contract writing system, which will “improve efficiency, reduce procurement process times, and increase data accuracy.”

The agencies are looking for new tools because Frank Kendall, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, mandated the sunset of the Standard Procurement System by September 2015 and directed the services to develop their own systems for contract writing and administration. The 17-year-old departmentwide system serving 27,000 contracting personnel “is difficult to maintain and improve and is technologically fragile,” Kendall said in an Oct. 21, 2011, memorandum. Emerging technologies and contracting capabilities no longer require a “one size fits all” departmentwide contracting system, he added.

American Management Systems won the Standard Procurement System contract in 1996 and CACI International Inc. acquired the defense business of that company in 2004. When Defense launched the procurement system project in 1994, it estimated its total costs at $3 billion over 10 years. But in July 2001, the Government Accountability Office pegged its price tag at $3.7 billion, due partly to delays to modify commercial software to meet Pentagon requirements.

Vendors interested in the replacement systems need to respond to the Navy by March 19 and DCMA by March 29.