Air Force awards nearly $7 billion in network hardware contracts

Nine firms are selected to provide gear, including fingerprint, facial and iris identity systems.

The Air Force on Monday awarded to nine companies contracts valued at a total of $6.9 billion over 10 years for network hardware, servers, storage and biometric systems for identity management.

The winning companies of the fixed-price, indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contracts have the right to compete for task orders on the Air Force Network-Centric Solutions-2 (NETCENTS 2 )contract. They are:

-- Ace Technology Partners LLC

-- Blue Tech Inc.

-- FedStore Corp.

-- General Dynamics Information Technology

-- Global Technology Resources Inc.

-- GTSI Corp.

-- Iron Bow Technologies LLC

-- M2 Technology Inc.

-- Red River Computer Co.

The Air Force Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., kicked off the NETCENTS 2 procurement in 2008 to replace its original $9 billion single network contract, which was awarded to eight vendors in September 2004 under seven separate procurements valued at $24 billion. The contract serves Air Force customers and the Defense Information System Agency.

The Air Force has awarded only one other NETCENTS 2 contract, an enterprise and service management buy in December 2010 to Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI Enterprise Solutions, Inc., Deloitte Consulting LLP, Dynamics Research Corp., Science Applications International Corp. and TechTeam Government Solutions, Inc.

Service leaders predicted in January that the Air Force would award four additional NETCENTS 2 contacts this year, including one full and open competition in June, valued at $7.9 billion, for network operations and infrastructure that will include network security gear and software. The service plans to award small business network operations contracts valued at $5.8 billion in September.

The Air Force said it plans to award the NETCENTS 2 full and open application services contract, which covers migration, integration, training, help desk support, testing and operational support in September and a small business contract in June, with both valued at just under $1 billion. The NETCENTS 2 information technology professional support contract, valued at $700 million, is on hold due to resource constraints, according to Air Force officials.

The NETCENTS 2 hardware contract awarded yesterday includes a range of wired and wireless network products, including switches, hubs, gateways, routers, firewalls, servers, tape drives, satellite terminals, microwave and Wi-Fi hardware, and land mobile radios. Identity management systems covered by the hardware contract include Common Access Card readers and fingerprint, iris and facial recognition systems.

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