The State Department is considering a plan to issue a new multiple-award contract delivering a broad range of information technology services and replacing one of the department’s largest IT services contracts, known as Vanguard.
Officials from State’s Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM) released a sources-sought notice March 29 seeking information on IT capabilities from prospective industry partners. The proposed 10-year contract would supply global IT infrastructure, telecommunications, end-user device management, application development and maintenance, cybersecurity, and IT support services. The contract would have a $4 billion ceiling value and offer spots for between six and 10 contractors.
Interested parties must respond to the notice no later than April 7. IRM officials plan to hold an industry day and conduct one-on-one discussions with potential bidders. The date is yet to be determined.
The incumbent contract, a task order on Alliant known as Vanguard 2.2.1, has generated more than $2 billion for Science Applications International Corp. since it was awarded in December 2010. Vanguard expires Aug. 8, 2021. Since the start of fiscal 2017, the single Vanguard task order has accounted for about 10% of total State Department IT contract spending.
The follow-on contract would encompass Vanguard’s current scope and support a range of future IRM needs not yet met, according to an attached document. This includes on-premises and cloud computing, data storage, voice and data network management, database support, laptop and mobile device support, Agile software development, IT security and compliance, disaster recovery, strategic planning, and IT vendor management, among other services.
Further, IRM officials plan to compete as many as 10 task orders concurrently with the larger contract. Proposed task orders include:
- Network services, including maintaining and enhancing IRM’s global network infrastructure, providing perimeter security, network engineering, security operations, and risk management;
- Support for enterprise email, Microsoft Teams and Skype services;
- Around-the-clock support for the Main State Messaging Center (MSMC);
- Cloud services, including managing multiple cloud environments supplied by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, as well as cloud-native application development;
- IT help desk services;
- Overseas telecommunications support, including secure landline, wireless, and radio communications networks;
- Communications security, access management, and encryption.
The State Department’s preferred industry partners are those with experience managing IT projects in remote, challenging environments, whether in politically unstable countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, or under extreme conditions, such as repairing undersea trans-oceanic cables. Despite those preferences, most of the work will be done in the Washington D.C. metro area. Awardees must possess an active Secret-level facilities clearance and staff cleared at the Secret level.
IRM officials have not yet stated whether they will set aside for small businesses any of the six to 10 spots on the contract or any of the approximately 10 initial task orders.
The Vanguard successor’s’s scale and scope will make it an attractive target for most top IT services contractors. SAIC — currently State’s top IT services contractor, having earned $828 million in IT obligations since the start of fiscal 2017 — could be a frontrunner for a spot on it. Other top IT services companies at State include Accenture PLC ($668 million), General Dynamics Corp. ($252 million), and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. ($227 million). The department’s top small-business IT services contractor is Tsymmetry Inc. ($128 million).
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