Archives for July 09

Jul 9, 2009
DynCorp International Inc. and Flour Corp. have been picked over KBR Inc. for five-year contracts worth as much as $7.5 billion for each company, if all options are exercised, to support the U.S. troop build-up in Afghanistan, according to an Army official.
 
Falls Church, Virginia-based DynCorp International Inc. and Irving, Texas-based Fluor Corp. each won basic one-year contracts worth as much as $1.5 billion and four one-year options, Jim Loehrl, executive director of the Army Rock Island, Illinois, Contracting Center, said in a telephone interview.
 
Today’s awards are the sixth and seventh -- and largest -- since the program was revamped in April 2008 into a competition that now pits Houston, Texas-based KBR, the incumbent contractor that won the original logistics contract in 2001, against DynCorp and Flour for individual tasks. KBR hasn’t yet won a task order.
 
KBR “remains committed to providing the Army quality service,” KBR spokeswoman Heather Browne in an e-mail response to a request for comment. “We remain proud of the work we have performed and we are humbled to serve our troops.”
 
DynCorp will take over services KBR provided for tasks such as laundry, food services and maintenance for existing base camps in southern Afghanistan. It also will build new bases as needed to accommodate the increase to about 68,000 troops from about 57,000 today. Fluor will take over similar services in northern Afghanistan.
 
Asked why KBR didn’t win any of the new orders, Loehrl declined to provide specifics.
 
Past Performance
The selection process took into account the technical aspects of a proposal, past performance and cost, Loehrl said.
 
“The Army awarded contracts to the companies that provided the best value,” he said.
 
Houston-based KBR, then a unit of Halliburton, won the prior competitive logistics contract in December 2001 and has since become the largest contractor in Iraq. That contract is worth $31.7 billion this year, according to Army figures.
 
“KBR has a proven track record of serving the military in an austere and unpredictable environment,” Browne said in her e-mail. “Our commitment in this regard will continue.”
 
KBR has drawn continued criticism from Pentagon auditors for its bookkeeping practices and costs incurred with the contract even as it has been praised by troops and commanders for the services provided.
A congressionally mandated independent bipartisan panel on wartime contracting concluded in its first report last month that KBR wasted billions of dollars through inefficiencies, lax oversight and poor management of its contract.
 
“The services could have been delivered for billions of dollars less,” the commission said in a report released at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform’s national security panel. “Substantial evidence supports the view” that KBR’s services “cost too much.”
 
Loerhl said KBR was entitled under the law to protest the awards. Read the full article http://tr.im/ryhs
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Jul 7, 2009

Department taps 35 small businesses to provide professional services. The Homeland Security Department has named 35 winners of its $1.5 billion small-business set-aside contract for professional services that was announced a year ago. Competition was limited to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

The Program Management, Administrative, Clerical and Technical Services (PACTS) contract is designed to provide a broad range of professional support services, except information technology services. The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract has a maximum value of $1.5 billion.

Future task orders under the PACTS contract might be among the first to be subjected to the mandatory reviews announced May 28 by Secretary Janet Napolitano, said Jeremy Potter, a senior analyst at Input Inc., a market research firm in Reston, Va.

Napolitano said officials will review all new professional services contracts worth $1 million or more to determine if the work was inherently governmental or involved core functions that government employees should perform. PACTS is one of the largest professional services contracts expected to generate task orders in the coming months, Potter said.

On June 19, DHS published a list of “apparently successful” offerers that responded to a solicitation issued in June 2008. The 35 winners include eight companies in Functional Category 1-Program Management, 10 companies in Functional Category 2-Administrative, seven companies in Functional Category 3-Clerical and 10 companies in Functional Category 4-Technical Services.

The winning companies in the four categories are:

Category 1-Program Management

  • Best Value Technology
  • Klett Consulting Group
  • Loch Harbour Group
  • Longview-FedConsulting
  • Markon Solutions
  • Savvee Consulting
  • Teracore
  • Winbourne and Costas

Category 2-Administrative

  • CTI Resource Management Services
  • DS3 Computing Solutions
  • HCI
  • Kingfisher Systems
  • Longview-FedConsulting
  • Patricio Enterprises
  • Strategic Alliance Enterprises
  • Veterans Enterprise Technology Solutions
  • Vet-Fed Resources
  • Winbourne and Costas

Category 3-Clerical

  • Addx
  • Centuria
  • imPACTS
  • Kingfisher Systems
  • Szanca Solutions
  • TAPE
  • Winbourne and Costas

Category 4-Technical Services

  • Best Value Technology
  • EmeSec
  • imPACTS
  • KMEA
  • LRS Federal
  • Serrano IT Services
  • Solute Consulting
  • Strategic Alliance Enterprises
  • Ursa Navigation Solutions
  • Vetco

Original article via WashingtonTechnology.com: DHS Awards PACTS Contract

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Jul 9, 2009

People, process and attitude are the keys to better partnership
Government and industry need to take partnership to the next level.

Yes, I’m a hockey fan. Living and working in the Washington, D.C., area, it was great to see the excitement around the Caps this spring — and I don’t think it’s just because they were the only D.C. team that was a playoff contender. There’s something about hockey — about the intensity, complexity and strategy of a winning hockey team, which scores goals most often as a result of great assists. In fact, it’s that combination of intensity driven by a strategy of collaboration that makes hockey the perfect metaphor for government/industry teamwork.

Public/private partnerships are by no means a new concept — think of the Erie Canal, interstate highway system and Apollo program. The most important challenges of the 21st century — from the economy and cybersecurity to national defense and environmental protection — will require the thinking and resources that only public/private teamwork can provide.

Although government officials clearly need to set policy, be in command and carry out inherently governmental functions, industry teammates can bring innovation, specialized expertise, and value to help win the peace and prosperity that citizens want and expect from government. Unfortunately, the current debate over what the government should do and what industry should do is putting public and private sectors on opposing teams.

I firmly believe that it's time — and it's imperative — that we take teaming to a new level across government and industry. With a new mindset focused more on goals and less on the penalty box and who’s to blame, we can gain the power of collaboration, deep expertise and broad understanding.

So how do we take this deep commitment to our collective mission and shared goals across government and industry to a new level?

I see the way forward in three dimensions: people, process and attitude. In keeping with the hockey analogy, it’s about having the best athletes who understand multiple positions and roles, it’s about improving the rules of the game, and it’s about having spirited, passionate and well-behaved fans on the sidelines.   Read the full article    tr.im/ryUu

 

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Jul 14, 2009

GovPartners is proud to sponsor The 5th Annual National Veteran Small Business Conference and Expo July 20-23, 2009, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This conference will bring together business owners, both small and large, and Federal Government representatives to share best practices of how to do business together. The conference will also include sessions on Federal Contracting for small businesses that are just breaking into the public sector.

The comprehensive conference agenda will include sessions that take attendees through the life cycle of small business Federal contracting. General sessions and breakouts will be led by small business owners as well as representatives from various Federal Agencies. Topics will include:

  • Contracting 101 and 201
  • Marketing and selling to the Federal Government
  • Legislation affecting small businesses
  • Legal issues with Government contracting
  • Managing small business finances
  • Successful business strategies
  • Subcontracting
  • And more!

This conference is an ideal mix of learning and networking opportunities. Registration is limited so early registration is highly encouraged.

The conference is open to both government and non-government personnel. Find out more here!

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Cynthia said: GovPartners will attend this important event. Visit the cyber cafe and networking area for GovPartners promotional materials and informatiom. We hope to see you there.
Jul 20, 2009
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Jul 15, 2009

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates commended Army Gen. David D. McKiernan’s leadership at every military level during a retirement ceremony for the former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan here today.

McKiernan returned the favor, calling Gates “the finest secretary of defense in my lifetime.

Gates replaced McKiernan as the commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan after the general spent less than a year in Kabul. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal now holds the position.

McKiernan addressed this early in his remarks. “If you had asked me 30 days ago if I would be here at my retirement ceremony, I probably would have said no,” the general said. “Make no mistake I was dismayed, disappointed, more than a little embarrassed. But, as so often in life … I received some candid coaching that said, ‘McKiernan, this is not about you. It’s about paying respect to your profession and those around who know you.’”

Gates said it was an honor to be asked to participate in the ceremony marking the end of McKiernan’s 37-year Army career.

“He has handled everything the Army and his commander in chief have thrown at him with supreme professionalism, intelligence and dedication to our nation and the men and women under his command,” the secretary said.

The general commanded the coalition land forces and launched the attack into Iraq in March 2003. Gates praised McKiernan for having the “skill and the will to keep the march to Baghdad on track through ‘Fedayeen’ attacks and furious sandstorms. [It was] a march that in less than three weeks brought Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime to an end.”

The general’s experience in Iraq served him well in Afghanistan, where he led an international military effort to secure and rebuild the country, the secretary said. McKiernan dedicated himself to recalibrating the International Security Assistance Force’s mission to better protect the Afghan people, the secretary said. He also oversaw a major expansion in Afghan security forces and brought about better coordination between military and civilian efforts in the country.

McKiernan made the NATO force better at counterinsurgency by ensuring its members were better trained. He worked diligently to improve cooperation among Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO, Gates said.

McKiernan believed “the Afghan people deserve better than the last 30 years of conflict,” Gates said. “While the Taliban and other terrorist groups offer only lies and fears, our continued effort promotes freedom and hope.”

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. hosted the retirement review on Summerall Field here and spoke highly of McKiernan’s command and operational experience.

Casey praised the general for his service in the Cold War, during Desert Storm, in the Balkans, as the ground commander of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and finally, as the commander of the NATO in Afghanistan.

“I can’t think of another officer who has contributed so much and given so much to the men and women of this Army,” Casey said.

The general received the Distinguished Service Medal from Casey and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal from Gates. In addition, his wife, Carmen McKiernan, was presented the Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal.

McKiernan has said that he and his wife plan on living in the Boston area and on staying involved in the support of soldiers. Read more tr.im/sx7H

 

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Jul 16, 2009

Ready or not, states are getting a tenfold boost in federal money to weatherize drafty homes, an increase so huge it has raised fears of waste and fraud and set off a scramble to find workers and houses for them to repair.

An obscure program that installs insulation in homes and makes them more energy-efficient is distributing $4.7 billion in stimulus funds — dwarfing the $447 million originally planned by Congress this year and the $227 million spent in 2008.

That is enough to weatherize 1 million homes, instead of the 140,000 normally done each year.

President Barack Obama said pouring money into the program would lower utility bills for cash-strapped families, provide jobs for construction workers idled by the housing slump, and make the nation more energy-efficient.

"You're getting a three-fer," Obama said. "That's exactly the kind of program we should be funding."

But some worry states won't be able to keep track of the money.

Leslie Paige, spokeswoman for the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, said the program is open to fraud because of the way oversight is divided. The federal government passes the money to states, then states pass it to community action agencies, and the agencies pass it to contractors who work with customers.

"It's such a Rube Goldberg operation it should be setting off alarm bells," she said.

Energy Department spokeswoman Christina Kielich defended the program, saying the federal government monitors state operations and does a thorough review at least every two years of the local organizations. In addition, states are getting their money in increments and must demonstrate quality control to get more.

The program helps low-income families take steps to reduce their home energy expenses, from caulking leaky windows to replacing heating and cooling systems. The Energy Department says 6.2 million households have benefited since it began in 1976, saving the average household about $350 a year on energy bills.

In addition to receiving an infusion of stimulus money, the program was expanded to cover families making up to twice the federal poverty level, or $44,100 for a family of four. Also, the average amount that can be spent per house was more than doubled to $6,500.

The funding for New York is going up from $20.1 million last year to $395 million. California's share is soaring from $6.3 million to $185.8 million. Virginia's is going up 23 1/2 times, from $4 million annually to $94.1 million.

"I was stunned," said Shea Hollifield, Virginia's deputy director of housing. "Spending that much money will be a challenge."

In Texas, the state's share is increasing nearly 60 times, from $5.6 million to $327 million. To spend the money efficiently and on time, state officials decided to go beyond the community organizations that normally distribute it and route $100 million to large cities.

"They have experience in administering large, complicated programs," said Gordon Anderson, spokesman for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

States are hurrying to find qualified weatherization workers and caulk-ready homes.

Wisconsin set up weatherization "boot camps" to train workers. West Virginia used to give new workers on-the-job training but is now looking to move to classrooms and online.

Alabama plans to train home builders in how to bid for weatherization contracts. Russell Davis, vice president of the Alabama Home Builders Association, said builders who once had no interest in weatherization contracts now see them as a way to keep their crews busy.

In many states, qualified homeowners are already on waiting lists. But some states don't have enough recipients signed up.

"We are out of clients. We need clients bad," said Cade Gunnells, weatherization coordinator for three counties in central Alabama.

To help find them, states are updating Web sites about the expanded program and working with nonprofit groups, churches and the news media to get the word out. Charles Uptain, a 73-year-old retiree, had his Montgomery home repaired in the weatherized program last year. His utility bills went down by about $60 a month after workers fixed leaky windows, replaced cracked panes, re-taped air-conditioning ducts and blew in new insulation. Uptain's house required 2 1/2 days of work and slightly more than $3,000.

"This wasn't wasteful spending. This was well-spent money," Uptain said.  Read the full article http://tr.im/sxto

 

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Jul 16, 2009

The General Services Administration’s SmartBuy program has awarded five contracts for agencies to use to purchase cybersecurity software.

Four of the awards are to resell BigFix’s Platform 7 software. The companies winning those awards were Autonomic Resources, Intelligent Decisions Inc., Merlin International and Patriot Technologies.

The fifth award went to Winvale Group to resell Gideon’s Secure Fusion software.

GSA said a sixth award may be made. The contracts are worth more than $20 million and can be used by federal and state and local government agencies, GSA said in a statement. The Homeland Security Department worked with GSA to make the awards.

The awards are blanket purchase agreements and are for cybersecurity services such as baseline configuration management, network mapping/path discovery and vulnerability management.

“GSA’s new suite of security solutions is aimed at protecting our IT infrastructure from cyber security incidents and other vulnerabilities, while providing maximum value for taxpayer dollars” Jim Williams, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service commissioner, said in a statement. Read entire article  tr.im/sBRy

Tags: Gsa Awards
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Jul 16, 2009

Four contractors will compete for $389 million in task orders over five years to support the Homeland Security Department’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communication.

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., General Dynamics Corp., Science Applications International Corp. and SRA International were picked to compete against one another for tasks to enhance and maintain the National Communications System, according to a July 10 award notice on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

Under the contracts, the companies will provide scientific, engineering and technical assistance. The scope of work also includes project planning and program management support.

NCS is the cornerstone of the country’s ability to provide key communications services to support government functions during emergencies. The system comprises the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service and Wireless Priority Service, which give authorized users top priority on congested networks during national emergencies. Reference Article tr.im/sBVl

Tags: Dhs Awards
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Jul 16, 2009

Three contractors will compete for $600 million in software support and information analysis tasks to support the National Air and Space Intelligence Center over five years, the Air Force has announced.

Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Inc., and Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems Corp. were selected by the Air Force to compete against each other for tasks to support the center’s Advanced Technical Exploitation Program under the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, Air Force officials said July 8.

The contractors will compete for tasks such as intelligence analysis, software systems development and support, and research and development of space-based and airborne sensor data, according to a General Dynamics statement on June 9. The tasks will support contingency operations in the war on terror, missile defense and similar initiatives.

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center processes, analyzes and disseminates measurement and signature intelligence data collected from radar, electro-optical sensors and infrared sensors. The information collected is provided to the Defense Department and intelligence agencies.

Tasks include intelligence analysis, software systems development, and sensor data analysis.  Original Article posted at tr.im/sDkl

 

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Jul 27, 2009

The Defense Department will launch a new homepage Aug.15 that incorporates Web 2.0 technologies as part of a militarywide and governmentwide effort to use new media capabilities, a DOD official said today.

The Web site, at www.defense.gov, will be a complete overhaul of the site that now exists, said Les Benito, public Web director at DOD’s Defense Media Activity office. The site will include new modes of user participation, and interactivity will be a driving factor in the site’s shaping, he said. Benito outlined the plans for the new site at the Open Government and Innovation Conference in Washington.

Users will be able to post questions for high-ranking military officers or the defense secretary, give their own feedback about DOD services and take advantage of other similar interactive features, he said.

“We’ll be basing a lot on things like user feedback and search results,” Benito said. “It’s like a portal to the Defense Department – how to do business with us, how to get involved. Some of it will be similar to Google monitoring,” a feature that tracks Internet traffic.

Benito hopes the new features will tap into the social media’s explosive popularity and help capture the coveted demographic of persons ages 18 to 24 years that has eluded DefenseLink, DOD’s current departmentwide homepage. Users in that age group account for only about 4 percent of DefenseLink’s visitors, while most fall into the age range of 48 to 5.  Full article published at tr.im/ueye

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