DISA to rely on existing contracts
The agency's procurement team is building a strategy based on avoiding creation of new awards
The Defense Information Systems Agency isn’t just trying to increase efficiency with its technology base. The agency's procurement team, led by DISA Component Acquisition Executive Tony Montemarano, is building a strategy based on avoiding the creation of new contracts.
“Given the statutory and regulatory boundaries, like water, we tend to take the path of least resistance,” Montemarano said Aug. 7 at DISA's Forecast to Industry. “We will exploit existing contracts to the maximum extent possible.” He added that that wasn't limited to DISA or Defense Department contracts and that DISA would use any federal contract to procure services.
Even when creating follow-on contracts to existing in-house programs, DISA isn't averse to partnering with other agencies to get those services. In August, DISA announced a memorandum of agreement with the General Services Administration to merge efforts to acquire commercial satellite capacity for all of the federal government and state, local and tribal governments — not just DOD — through a single joint program, the Future COMSATCOM Services Acquisition program.
“For about the last three years, we've been getting lots of helpful hints about how to run satellites from the community,” said Bruce Bennett, DISA's program executive officer for satellites, teleport and services, in an interview with Defense Systems. “We've been listening to industry, and one of the themes that kept coming up was that there were too many different ways to get satellite services for the federal government. We [at DISA] had a couple of different processes, GSA had a couple different processes, and the Army had a couple different processes, and it just didn't make sense.”
DISA's STS office was facing the end of its current Defense Information System Network Satellite Transmission Service-Global contracts, and Bennett said that DISA saw an opportunity to combine DSTS-G, International Maritime Satellite, and other services into a single program.
“It was our thinking that if we could combine what we were doing with the GSA, to handle most of the needs, not just for DOD, but most of the federal government, and state and local agencies, and we could define down to one process, we could save a lot of overhead for our vendors," Bennett said. "We could also save some of our own money because we wouldn't have all these processes. And we'd be able to increase the bulk of our buys to get even further reductions in cost."
Bennett told attendees at DISA's Forecast to Industry that the approach taken with satellite capacity could be seen as a signal of what DISA's strategy for the upcoming Global Services Management contract will be. The GSM program, for which Bennett said a request for proposals would be released this fall, will cover all aspects of operation, defense and management of the Defense Information Systems Network -- the network layer of the Global Information Grid. “A precedent was set with FCSA that may very well spill over to GSM,” Bennett told Forecast to Industry attendees.
Sean Gallagher is senior contributing editor for Defense Systems.