VA to seek bids on $12 billion program

By Marjorie Censer
Monday, June 14, 2010

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to soon release a solicitation for its $12 billion, five-year technology and telecommunications program, meant to span a broad range of work from supporting facilities to cybersecurity.

According to the draft solicitation released in late May, the program, known as Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology, or T4, will select companies to be chosen for future awards. The government plans to award up to 15 prime contracts for the program -- at least four of which will go to small businesses owned by veterans who incurred disabilities in the line of duty and three more of which will go to other veteran-owned small businesses.

Kevin M. Plexico, senior vice president of research and analysis services for Input, a company that analyzes the government market, said the program is attracting huge interest from industry.

"I think [the VA is] a very attractive agency to have as a customer. It's been a fast-growing agency and looks to be a fast-growing agency in the future," he said. "This is an effort by the agency to consolidate a lot of their spending."

Despite its $12 billion ceiling, Plexico estimated the program will likely result in a maximum of $5 billion in contract awards.

Robert Guerra, a principal with the Potomac-based business development consulting firm Guerra Kiviat, is advising clients that will bid on the contract. After attending two industry days -- one of which was held June 8 -- he said he expects 80 to 100 veteran-owned small businesses and about 40 large companies to compete.

Among those planning to compete is Attain, a professional services firm in Vienna. The company is partnering with multiple teams to ensure the company has a place on the contract.

"If they do follow-through with what they're planning to do ... then you have to be on this," said Bradley H. Smith, who heads the company's VA practice.

Mac Curtis, president and chief executive of Arlington-based Vangent, said his firm has done significant previous work for the Department of Veterans Affairs and plans to compete for T4.

"We've been there, we want to grow our business there," he said.

According to Plexico, companies are now picking teammates.

The program's structure is "driving the creation of large teams and lots of hedging of bets by trying to get placed on multiple teams," he said. "Everyone [is] wondering if they're on the right team or not."

New information posted by the contracting office said the T4 solicitation is set for release June 30 and awards are planned for late September.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company