COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Seven companies received five-year contracts totaling $808.1 million overall to provide interconnection equipment to the Department of Defense in a landmark move by the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime to improve warfighter readiness and help maintain a robust industrial base.
The Interconnection Equipment Contracts provide interconnection parts, including wiring harnesses, cables, connectors, accessories and installation kits, to DOD organizations worldwide.
“This allows us to pre-position the support of the contract to meet our nation’s needs as they develop,” said Jacquelyn Dunne, acquisition division chief for DLA Land and Maritime’s detachment at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The DLA Land – Aberdeen detachment led by Director Doug Nevins is the lead for this effort.
The long-term contracts are designed to improve quick-turn support, surge response and cycle time by offering rapid acquisition capability, advance planning and greater collaboration between the Defense Department and industry. The IECs encompass 150,000 DLA-managed items and 6,000 Army-managed items used in a variety of systems across DOD – from weapon systems to radios.
The contracts were awarded through a competitive acquisition process and contain five-year base periods along with five one-year options, with an estimated overall savings of up to $83 million across the life of the contracts.
In a break from traditional procurement, the selected companies become part of a pool for awards that fall within the interconnection class of items – a move from decentralized procurement through multiple contract vehicles to an all-encompassing approach that supports evolving requirements.
Dunne said the idea was first generated last summer during conversations with the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command also based at Aberdeen. Discussions about readiness requirements included feedback on maintaining the strength of the vendor base to support future demands.
DLA Land – Aberdeen responded swiftly by putting together a two-person team of contract specialists Lindsey Schuman and Michelle Bontempo, with support from several expert associates including Dunne.
The team invited interconnection equipment vendors to an Industry Day event to conduct market research. Their research uncovered a communication disconnect and a potential solution, Schuman said.
Industry feedback showed that vendors received orders for interconnection equipment one or two at a time with limited consistency or prioritization, forcing them to respond “ad hoc” to requirements coming from across DOD. Without a focal point in place to communicate the department’s priorities to vendors and give clear messaging, vendors were left scrambling to fulfill orders as they came in.
This is where DLA Land – Aberdeen stepped in to draft a unique “first generation” suite of contracts to address the universe of cable and connector supplies.
Dunne said the benefit of this approach is that the multiple award strategy outlined in the IEC is a holistic, repeatable solution.
Further, the contracts open up opportunities for small businesses to be contract holders – referred to as “primes.” Of the seven awards, one went to a large business and six went to small businesses, including two service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and a tribally-owned historically underutilized “HUBZone” business. Work will take place in Virginia, Maryland, Oklahoma and Florida through Dec. 17, 2024.
The DLA Land – Aberdeen team will roll out information to DLA contract specialists in the coming weeks through a series of roadshows. The first kicks off Thursday at the Defense Supply Center Columbus.