Air Force Extends $9 billion NETCENTS contract

Delays in $28 billion follow-on award forced the extension.

The Air Force last week extended its original Network-Centric Solutions contract, worth up to $9 billion, through Sept. 9, 2012. The extension, announced Nov. 23, was due to unexpected delays in the award of the follow-on NETCENTS-2 contracts, which have a projected ceiling value of $28.2 million.

Both the original and follow-on NETCENTS contracts include a range of information technology and engineering services, including network structure and design provided on a task order basis in which contract holders vie for pieces of work. The NETCENTS contract holders are: Booz Allen Hamilton, Centech Group Inc., General Dynamics, Harris Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., NCI Information Systems, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp., and Telos Corp.

The extension is pending approval by the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, said Lt. Col. Raymond Barben, NETCENTS division chief, 754th Electronic Systems Group at Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Ala. It will allow the Air Force to acquire products and services during the transition between the end of current contract and the competitive award of replacement contracts.

He said the extension was necessary after service officials encountered unexpected delays in the source selection process.

While the Air Force bundled requirements for myriad IT and network services in the first NETCENTS contract, it originally planned eight separate procurements for NETCENTS-2:

-- Enterprise integration & service management

-- Hardware and software products

-- Network operations and infrastructure, full and open competition

-- Network operations and infrastructure, small business set-aside

-- Application services, full and open competition

-- Application services, small business set-aside

-- Telephony

-- IT professional support and engineering services

Barben, in a Sept. 10 letter to potential bidders, said the Air Force decided to eliminate the separate telephony procurement as its requirements could be met by the network operations and infrastructure solicitation.

As the Air Force awards the NETCENTS-2 contracts, any additional related

requirements will be met by issuing task orders under those new contracts, not through orders issued under the current contracts, he said.

Barben said conducting a separate competition for a short-term follow-on to the original contract would "dramatically delay" the current NETCENTS-2 competition.

He did not provide award dates for the NETCENTS-2 contracts.

Correction: The original version of this story did not include NCI Information Systems, Inc., among the list of contract holders. Nextgov regrets the error.

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