The Defense Enclave Services contract was originally projected to be bid out at the end of September.
A major Defense Department IT contract potentially worth $11.7 billion for network consolidation is expected to be released next week, Pentagon officials told reporters Thursday.
Officials said the Defense Enclave Services, or DES, contract aims to unify fourth estate agencies under common IT systems and is a critical component of the department’s IT reform initiatives. The Defense Information Systems Agency will select a single provider under the up to 10-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract. The request for proposal is expected to be released next week, Don Means, DISA’s DES executive, told reporters during a media roundtable as part of DISA’s annual forecast to industry event Thursday.
The final solicitation was originally slated for release at the end of September, a few weeks after DISA published a draft RFP for the contract Sept. 4. An internal review delayed the release of the final RFP, Danielle Metz, DOD acting deputy chief information officer for information enterprise, said during the roundtable. Metz said DOD CIO Dana Deasy analyzed the contract to ensure all the “i’s are dotted and t’s crossed.”
“We thought that a little bit more due diligence was important to make sure that we were doing what was right for the department,” Metz said, adding this is standard practice for an endeavor as significant as the DES contract. Metz called the contract one of the “crown jewels” of DOD IT reform.
DES is meant to improve integration and cybersecurity for the fourth estate agencies, which includes DOD components like the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and the Defense Logistics Agency. The contract award will be scheduled for December 2021, the DOD officials said.
Means said the DES contract is “part and parcel” of the department’s Fourth Estate Network Optimization project, an initiative meant to provide DOD with cost savings while at the same time modernizing IT.
“We need an acquisition mechanism to drive this consolidation, to find the economies of scale and efficiency, and so this is certainly a significant part of the optimization effort overall,” Means said.