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General Dynamics IT awarded $152 million state contract to manage networks, cybersecurity

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – General Dynamics Information Technology was awarded a new $152 million, five-year contract last week by the Alabama Supercomputer Authority, a state-funded corporation that provides network and technology resources and services for education, research and economic purposes.

The contract will see General Dynamics continue to manage the bulk of work the ASA is responsible for, including the statewide network known as the Alabama Research and Education Network, which provides education institutions, public schools and government agencies with internet connections via a 10g Ethernet-based network.

The ASA’s previous contract with General Dynamics lasted seven years and expired Friday. The new $152 million contract, with funding coming from the state’s Education Trust Fund, saw unanimous approval by the ASA Board.

“We’re right on the cusp of ending a contract and starting a new one just in a couple of days, and we’re driving some innovation with technology into the new contract, and we’re very excited about that,” said Eric Dorr, program manager at GDIT.

“We appreciate the opportunity to continue this relationship and continue the work that we’re doing into the coming months and years as we get into the new contract. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re in a very good place.”

Alabama Supercomputer Authority Board Chair Walter Overby.

The ASA began work on securing a new contract in 2022 when the agency put out requests for proposals. The only proposal received was from GDIT, and during a July 2022 meeting, ASA Chief Operations Officer Crystal Maylin expressed the “disappointment of all involved” that the agency had only received one proposal, according to meeting records.

Dorr noted the development of new technologies, such as what he called the Nettapp backup, recovery and cybersecurity program, as some of the new innovations GDIT would use under the new contract.

Other advancements that will be made under the new contract highlighted during the meeting were enhancements to the capacity of the statewide network, development of a new high performance computer system, improvements to cybersecurity and network availability and bringing down costs for internet access to clients.

Walter Overby, the chair of the ASA Board, told Alabama Daily News that on the ASA’s end of the contract, new performance metrics and accountability measures stood out as the greatest differences between the new and old contract with GDIT.

“We have put more accountability into the contract which will be a benefit to ASA, and I think it helps GDIT with their internal operations, trying to do things maybe a little better, a little bit more organized,” he said.

Two new members were also appointed to the ASA Board during the meeting; Rep. Prince Chestnut, D-Valley Grande, and Sen. April Weaver, R-Brierfield. While Weaver wasn’t present at the meeting Wednesday, Chestnut told Alabama Daily News that he saw his appointment, recommended by House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, as an opportunity to help expand broadband access in his district and beyond.

“With me coming from a district that really needs service and broadband activity, I really want to be able to maximize the opportunities for school children in that district,” Chestnut said. “Not just within my district, but within the entire stretch of the Black Belt, and make sure that the schools and libraries know that this service is out there.”

The ASA currently serves 975 sites, including 683 public K-12 school sites and 84 community college sites, and has grown by 26% over the past year, and by 56% over the past five years.

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