Under the Hood of DIA’s $6B E-SITE Deal

The final payout may not be as big as you think, partly because of a significant change in how DIA approaches IT.

Over the summer, 50 companies won a spot on a massive 5-year, $6 billion Defense Intelligence Agency contract.

The winning companies are still waiting for DIA to issue task orders to compete for work under the new Enhanced Solutions for the Information Technology Enterprise contract.

But a look under the hood of the E-SITE deal reveals the final payout may not be as big as you think, partly because of a significant change in how DIA approaches IT.

The $6 billion figure is the ceiling over the 5-year indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, but it’s unlikely DIA will go on a spending spree and actually reach it.

DIA does not publicly release actual contract expenditure data, but sources tell Nextgov it only spent $3 billion under SITE, E-SITE’s 5-year predecessor. SITE similarly had a ceiling of about $6 billion, so DIA basically spent about half of what it could have.

In addition, DIA’s SITE contract was in place before the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise framework became the blueprint for all the IC’s IT operations.

IC-ITE (pronounced “eye sight”) emphasizes shared services among the 17 intelligence community agencies, and is the reason we’ve seen agencies like the CIA partner with Amazon Web Services.

DIA, as one of the intelligence community agencies charged with leading IC-ITE, isn’t about to go off and do its own thing with tons of IT only it can use. After all, ICITE was also crafted to help the intelligence community save money.

E-SITE was designed to be a broad IT acquisition vehicle that can bring in today’s rapidly evolving technologies, including traditional hardware and software and less traditional technologies, like cutting-edge cybersecurity and big data analytics platforms. Some of its task orders could well be used on enterprise-scale acquisitions, but such acquisitions aren’t the rule anymore.

DIA’s own press statement described the contract as designed “to support information technology requirements across the defense intelligence enterprise and the greater intelligence community,” and DIA Director Vincent Stewart recently said the agency is “100 percent committed to IC-ITE.”

While the vendors certainly hope there is more activity for them under E-SITE than there was under SITE, the sheer number of companies involved means any task orders will be hotly contested. From DIA’s perspective, this level of quality competition further promotes the bottom line.