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FCW : April 15, 2014
he Air Force s Network Centric Solutions program is growing in size and importance. NetCents-2, with its seven inde nite delivery/inde nite quantity contracts, has a ceiling of $24 billion, which is nearly three times that of three times that of NetCents-1. Building on the experience of NetCents-1, it has been designed with exibility and standards compliance in mind. Program of cials say NetCents-2 is key to the success of the Air Force s IT mission to "deliver the right informa- tion, in the right format, to the right place, at the right time." Each of the NetCents-2 vehicles is highly exible, and together they deliver capabilities across the entire range of communications, networking and telephony product and service domains that Air Force users inhabit, said Robert Smothers, chief of the Logistics and Installation Systems Branch at Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex, and the NetCents-2 program manager. Overall, NetCents-2 "meets or exceeds opera- tional net-centric requirements." Additionally, he said, NetCents-2 leverages the Air Force s buying power to meet the service s strategic sourcing goals. The way that the user support has been formed provides a great deal of agility in meeting user needs, Smothers said. Different teams of engineers and subject matter experts are assigned to various contract categories, and they help users at the various Air Force bases as they navigate through the contracting process, one that s become more complex over the years "with more and more instructions, regulations and requirements." Internally, the NetCents-2 program of ce works with very speci c tem- plates and user guides that list all of the various Air Force and Defense De- partment technical standards that have to be complied with, and these teams will help customers work with those templates. The result should be a much faster execution of orders. NetCents-2 takes a great deal of the pressure off individual contracting of cers, Smothers said. Without it, they would have to use Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 15, which re- quires them to do market research and qualify vendors. NetCents-2 already includes that, which means they can instead use FAR Part 16, which has a more simpli ed task order process. "Basically, we ve already ensured that the vendors can do the job, we ve done the market research, and we have the requirements analysis documents published for our government con- tracting of cers and programs to use," he said. "We think that, on average, it saves between 30 and 45 days, so the contracting of cers can move that much more quickly to make awards." NetCents-2 should also deliver much better "price ef ciencies" than Net- Cents-1, he believes, since there s a much broader range of things on offer, and a more diverse set of vendors from which users can choose. NetCents-1 used a single umbrella contract to provide both products and services, and there were only eight vendors. With NetCents-2, products are given their own contract vehicle, already awarded in November 2013, and it alone has 25 vendors. "[That way] we get to more of the direct sellers and original equipment manufacturers," Smother said. "The data [as of early February] is still com- ing in for December and January sales, but we re con dent we ll have a better set of ef ciencies and that we ll get better prices for our users." Sponsored Report NETCENTS-2 NetCents-2 key to Air Force mission FULL REPORT ONLINE Go to FCW.com/2014NETCENTS2
March 30, 2014
April 30, 2014