LRC procurement efforts deliver bandwidth to increase flexibility in communications downrange
May 10, 2012
In 2007, it was uncertain if DISA would award a critical contract that was to provide vital command and control communications services to the Iraq Ministry of Defense, referred to as MoD. The procurement work done by the Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD) not only provides Iraq with Very Small Aperture Terminal, or VSAT, bandwidth and operations and maintenance services, but also provides Iraq with the operational flexibility to move sites, install sites, increase bandwidth capacity in any increment and direction, and receive support for their Video Teleconference Network.
These important services would have lapsed at midnight if the contract was not awarded. Back then, CECOM was at the mercy of DISA, since all Department of Defense agencies were required to procure satellite services through DISA. The contract was finally awarded just in time to prevent a catastrophic service lapse, during a time when everyone was on leave for the holidays with their families, and when most Government offices had minimal manning.
At the time, the Iraq MoD VSAT network consisted of only 33 VSATs throughout Iraq, interconnecting three disparate voice and data networks, and managed as three separate task orders through DISA. A year after that critical award, DISA obtained an exception, allowing it to merge the requirements for all three task orders and complete the requirement under one task order. By this time the Iraq MoD network had grown to 130 terminals, including three additional data networks and one additional voice network.
While the consolidated task order was being solicited, CECOM worked with DISA to extend services for each of the three task orders on a monthly basis over the course of six months until awarded. For each month the contract was pending award, DISA required a separate Telecommunications Service Request, or TSR, and certified funding to extend services.
Once approved, the KO would use the TSR to prepare the contract modification that was issued to the contractor. During this past contract period of performance at DISA, CECOM prepared over 30 TSRs for bandwidth and operations and maintenance services, site moves and installations. In most cases, the contract modification would be issued the day services lapsed or in some cases, days after the services were contractually going to lapse. Despite the untimely execution between services lapsing and when the contract modification would be awarded, Iraq never lost critical services.
Today, The Iraqi MoD maintains a dedicated Commercial Satellite Communications (COMMSATCOM) and internet services network consisting of 170 existing VSATs to support the interconnection of four voice/data networks and one video network which support the Iraqi MoD. The MoD's VSAT network includes the Iraq Defense Network, IDN, Iraq Veterans Administration, Video Teleconference, Human Resources Information Management, the Iraqi Intelligence Network (I2N) and the I2N SIGINT network.
After spending four years on the DISA contract vehicle, CECOM was able to obtain a DoD waiver allowing it to procure bandwidth without going to DISA. March 14, 2012, CECOM awarded a three year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity, IDIQ, for this program and transitioned VSATs from the incumbent's satellite network to the new contractor's network. SAMD retains program and contract management of the Iraq MoD VSAT program at the activity level through the IDIQ. The IDIQ also provides Iraq with strategic flexibility and options to implement a mobile satellite communications capability and expanding their command and control network through WiMax.