TSA Preparing Major IT Contract

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

An upcoming RFP will detail a major IT management opportunity at TSA, which has struggled to upgrade information technology at airports

Acquisition officers at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are currently putting the finishing touches on a solicitation to hire a company to fulfill a follow-up contract to its Information Technology Managed Services (ITMS) program, the agency's major IT infrastructure modernization initiative.

TSA procurement personnel could not provide an exact release date for the anticipated request for proposals (RFP), but competition for the contract is likely to begin within the several months, TSA spokesperson Ann Davis told HSToday.us.

"We did release a draft statement of work in March. That was coupled with a pre-solicitation conference with vendors. A final statement of work and an RFP is anticipated in the summer," David said.

TSA would like to award the program to a prime contractor by August, Davis added. The five-year, fixed price contract would have an estimated value of $2 billion.

TSA will solicit the follow-up contract as a task order within the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE) consolidated purchasing contract at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Davis reported. The work falls under EAGLE functional category 2, operations and maintenance.

Major systems integrators attended the March pre-solicitation conference, which was open to large businesses qualified to bid on the work. Those companies included Computer Sciences Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp., General Dynamics One Source LLC, Lockheed Martin Services Inc., Northrop Grumman Information Technology, and Science Applications International Corp., according to Davis.

Although Unisys did not attend the pre-solicitation conference, it is eligible to submit a competitive bid for the TSA information technology contract, Davis confirmed.

Market research firms such as INPUT of Reston, Va., have identified the TSA information technology services contract as one of the most significant awards of fiscal 2008. David DeBrandt, INPUT's director of Federal Research Operations, first identified the opportunity to the company's clients in a presentation on Nov. 1, 2007, predicting an RFP in the first quarter of 2008.

ITMS History

TSA first awarded the ITMS contract, worth up to $1 billion, in 2002 to Unisys Corp. At the request of Congress, the DHS Office of the Inspector General audited the program in 2005, finding the contract did not have proper price and quality controls and that "83 percent of the contract ceiling [had] been expended in less than half of the allotted time" (http://www.dhs.gov/xoig/assets/mgmtrpts/OIG_06-23_Feb06.pdf).

The OIG recommended that TSA terminate the contract at the end of its base period and re-bid it. DHS awarded a bridge contract to Unisys in December 2005 while it prepared for a follow-up competition.

"The new contract has implemented sound business practices and processes to address the weaknesses identified in the subject report," TSA stated in its response to the OIG report.

Unisys released a statement on March 31, 2006, declaring it had "successfully met ITMS contract requirements and, in some cases, exceeded them to earn a performance award." The release also cited high customer satisfaction with the company's performance under ITMS.

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