DISA wants more vendor accountability

By Meg Beasley
Federal News Radio

The Defense Information Systems Agency will begin develop contracts that are performance-based, and the first major one is imminent.

Tony Montemarano, DISA’s component acquisition executive, said Thursday at a lunch panel hosted by AFCEA-DC in Arlington, Va., that the Defense Department wants to increase the accountability of its vendors, and performance-based awards will do that and save money.

The first such contract is for Global Solutions Management (GSM). Montemarano said that while the performance-based GSM contract is new to DISA and much of the industry, the agency has worked hard to ensure a level playing field for vendors competing for the contract as well as between vendors and the government.

Montemarano did not specify when the contract would be announced but he said it will be before Feb. 16.

“The good news is that the agency is dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s as we speak,” he said. “The bad news is there are an awful lot of I’s and an awful lot of T’s.”

Moving to performance-based contracting is part of a broader initiative for DISA and DoD.

“In addition to the normal contracting issues, you have to recognize that we have this insatiable desire for situational awareness and security,” Montemarano said. “We are going to want have visibility into your solutions and those solutions are going to have to be secure in accordance with whatever we happen to tell you it has to be secured with, and that varies. The point is that you have to walk into it eyes open.”

Another of DISA’s priorities is the capability to always “be on” to have real time back-ups so that if one application fails, users will not experience any interruption in service.

But DISA also isn’t ready to jump into technology that is not ready for prime time. Recently the agency scrapped plans to join its video teleconferencing capability with its collaboration capability when industry failed to produce technology the agency sought.

Montemarano said DISA initially solicited solutions but a cutting edge, managed technology service was not ready. Now the agency will “take what we have and iterate it until technology is available that we can go out and just get a turn-key solution.”

Montemarano also addressed DISA’s upcoming move to Ft. Meade under the Base Realignment and Closure effort. He said the agency made certain to synchronize all activity prior to its move and is working with the General Services Administration on the necessary solicitations, four in all.

“We feel good that things will stay on track, but having said that, cycles are cycles and there are only so many…I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some slips, but nothing you would notice,” he said.

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