ISIS fallout: Satellite intel contract hits its ceiling 3 years early

Ongoing military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan has prompted the Defense Information Systems Agency to raise the ceiling on a contract for commercial fixed satellite services, lest those services run out three years early.

DISA’s Defense IT Contracting Organization has filed a Justification and Approval notice for raising the contract ceiling for communications services for the Army Intelligence and Security Command while it makes arrangements to re-compete the contract.

The command in June 2008 awarded SES Government Solutions (then as American Government Services) a five-year contract with five one-year options for satellite services, a total 10-year timeframe with a $286.5 million ceiling expected to cover services through the post-war drawdown.  “Unfortunately,” the notice says, “the draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan did not occur at the level expected; therefore, the impact resulted in a higher demand for unanticipated mission critical requirements.” (The United States had planned to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 5,500 by the end of 2015, but announced in March that the it would keep the troop level at 9,800.)

As a result, the 10-year ceiling for the contract would be reached in seven years, the notice says. The current one-year option ran out June 1; the notice, posted to the FedBizOps website on June 2, said the ceiling was raised May 29.

The contract covers a complete telecommunications network in support of the Intelligence Electronics Warfare community, using commercial satellite bandwidth and contractor-provided hub equipment.

As events in the Middle East have continued, mostly notably the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the drain on resources has exceeded what was expected after the drawdown. “The war on terrorism and continued terrorist activities in other areas of responsibility has made it impossible to predict with any degree of certainty when the contract ceiling would be reached,” the notice says. “In addition, the newly identified threats have negatively impacted the contract ceiling. These unforeseen events have led to the need to increase the contract ceiling while on-going preparations are being made to recompete the contract.”

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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