The Department of Veterans Affairs will ramp up a $12 billion set of IT contracts on Monday, when it will release the request for proposals for the sweeping Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology program, or T4.
The effort will include up to $7 billion in spending on IT at the VA over the next five years, and up to $5 billion set aside to provide services other agencies who need to meet government requirements for contracting work out to small businesses.
The requirements for the contract will cover a huge range of IT services and operations at VA. Contractors will be providing VA with: program management, strategy, enterprise architecture and planning support; systems and software engineering; software demonstration and deployment; test and evaluation; enterprise network services; IT management; cybersecurity; and more.
Hundreds of IT vendors — big and small alike — have expressed interest in T4, VA secretary Eric Shinseki said in a speech at a Veteran-owned small business conference on Tuesday. VA has consulted one-on-one with about 240 companies and hosted a pre-solicitation conference last month where more than 320 companies, from Accenture to VMware, showed up.
In all, T4 wil consist of 15 separate awards — 7 of them going to veteran-owned businesses — covering much of the breadth and depth of VA’s IT operations. It’s unclear how much of the agency’s IT budget will be eaten up by T4, though VA CIO Roger Baker has in the past said that much of the agency’s budget could be outsourced.
As big as T4 is, multi-billion dollar IT contracts are not entirely outside the norm for VA: in 2003, the VA outsourced work to 10 companies, including IBM, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Unisys, CSC, and SAIC, under its eight-year, $3 billion Global Information Technology Support Services contract.