DISA has released the final Request for Proposals for its potential 10-year, $11.7 billion single vendor contract to consolidate the Pentagon’s ‘Fourth Estate’s’ network capabilities.

A contract award for the Defense Enclave Services program is slated for the first quarter of fiscal year 2022.

Aerial of the Pentagon, the Department of Defense headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington DC, with I-395 freeway on the left, and the Air Force Memorial up middle.

“DES will provide integrated, standardized and cost-effective IT services, while improving security, network availability and reliability for 22 [Department of Defense Field Activities] within the Fourth Estate. The DES effort will establish the modern infrastructure foundation and united frame of thought needed to deliver cohesive combat support capabilities to the warfighter,” DISA wrote in the new notice released Dec. 8. 

Last year, the Pentagon tasked DISA with optimizing the Fourth Estate networks, which cover 400,000 users, by using DES to streamline the various IT systems and managing the new network architecture.

Don Means, DISA’s lead executive for DES, told reporters the decision to go with a single vendor acquisition approach was required to build in maximum cost efficiency and accountability into the massive program.

“When you’ve got varying IT networks at varying levels of maturity and security and with the goal being integration, this is the way to get after it to make sure that we had cost efficiency, accountability and to bring us up to standard,” Means said. 

DoD’s other multi-billion dollar single-vendor IT program, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud effort, has faced two years of program delays, allegations of conflict of interest, pre-award protests and congressional and industry pushback over the Pentagon’s decision to go with a single-award approach.