DISA preps $17 billion JIE contract proposal

A formal request for proposal has now been finished by DISA, paving the way for massive IT upgrades

Vital IT capabilities that are key to maintaining information supremacy will soon receive a much-needed upgrade. After a lengthy solicitation process marred by several setbacks, the Defense Information System Agency (DISA) has finally finished the request for proposal (RFP) phase for its five-year, $17.5 billion ENCORE III indefinite-quantity, indefinite-quantity, multiple-award contract. The program aims to replace aging systems across the Department of Defense (DoD) and thus enhance global IT capabilities for military services and other federal agencies.

The RFP outlines 19 separate performance areas of interest, including cyber security assessment and authorization, information communications technology, and computer-telephony integration. Contract winners are responsible for the development, installation, fielding, training, operation and life-cycle management of these components and systems in the operational environments.

DISA handles much of the back-end information technology that powers the Department of Defense and is a key player in developing the Joint Information Environment (JIE), a network-centric environment gunning for information superiority. The agency plans to award 40 total contracts — 20 for large businesses and 20 for small businesses. ENCORE III’s predecessor, ENCORE II, topped out at $12.3 billion. A timeline is unknown, but ENCORE contracts typically last ten years.

 According to GovWin, recent DISA budget shortfalls hint at a future reduction in ENCORE contracts. This news has potential companies clamoring to secure one of the prized contracts and ensure prime access to future deals.

 Controversy erupted earlier this year after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) upheld protests filed by two prospective bidders against DISA. The complaints pushed back against the agency’s selection process, specifically its use of low-price technically acceptable (LPTA) funding.

 Last month’s release of the RFP follows the GAO's ruling that asked DISA to revise the solicitation but kept in place the agency’s use of a LPTA. Final proposals were due Sept. 30 and a DoD contract announcement will likely arrive soon.