Air Force Extends Contract Program

The Air Force is extending a program that provides agencies with contracts for communications equipment and services. The program, Network Centric Solutions, works with such companies as Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics Corp, among many others.

The current extension will run through until September 2012, while the new contract runs until September 2014. Before this extension, there were multiple delays preventing contracts from being awarded. A program called NETCENTS II was to replace NETCENTS when it expired in 2009. Delays forced NETCENTS to be extended for more than a year.

Vice President of Sales for Merlin International Kevin Gordon said he understands why delays have taken place.

“It’s a large and complicated contract, but the Air Force does force the customer and the contractor to jump through more hoops,” he said.

Professional Services Council President Stan Soloway said a lack of professional skills in acquiring large contracts explains the reason for delays. “You have acquisition offices that are overloaded with requests for complex technology components, but don’t have the expertise to write the requirements in to the proposal,” he told the Washington Business Journal in February.

Air Force spokesman Jason Bishop said the current extension ensures there are no gaps.

“As the new NETCENTS program gets under way, all new orders that can be filled will automatically shift out and the current program will be phased out. In the meantime, we want to just make sure agencies have a contract vehicle to use,” he said.

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