FBI picks 10 firms for tech support project

As part of their information technology transformation, FBI officials recently issued the first operations and maintenance task orders for their Technical Support and Development Project (TSDP).

TSDP "is a standard contracting vehicle in which numerous businesses apply to provide specific technical skill sets to the FBI," an FBI spokesperson said. Officials hired the experts to advance their IT transformation.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract has a potential value of $42.5 million during a five-year period. The contract, awarded June 18, covers operational IT support services such as information assurance, cybersecurity, configuration management, technology policy and planning, maintenance, upgrades, Web integration and application development.

The 10 prime contractors -- all of which are small businesses -- are McDonald Bradley Inc., Pragmatics Inc., AlphaInsight Corp., Comso Inc., Data Computer Corp. of America, Innovative Management and Technology Approaches Inc., InfoPro Inc., Staffing Alternatives Inc., Glotech Inc. and Project Performance Corp.

The small-business teams will support various financial, investigative, intelligence and electronic document management systems.

McDonald Bradley officials are leading a team of seven partners that will perform work at the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at other designated facilities. Staff who work on the project will hold top-secret clearance credentials, said Kenneth Bartee, president and chief executive officer of McDonald Bradley. He added that he expects to have more than 40 employees dedicated to the FBI work once the bureau progresses past the current transition phase.

Bartee said the FBI has already issued 10 task orders, mostly for operations and maintenance of existing systems.

"There's no new development work in the first 10 tasks," Bartee said, adding that the maintenance tasks cover everything from financial management to agent field support systems.

McDonald Bradley officials responded to two of the requests, he said. "It's moving pretty quickly from contract to award."

McDonald Bradley's visual intelligence tools allow clients in the intelligence community to easily and graphically analyze large, diverse information sets. Bartee said improved data sharing is critical for all federal law enforcement and defense agencies.

"How do you get just what you're looking for and not all the garbage" to agents in the field and in field offices? Bartee asked. "That is the key challenge right now."

Once new development work begins in areas such as information sharing, the small businesses will be able to show the FBI some state-of-the-art technologies that "big integrators are slow to bring to the table," Bartee said.

"Some small businesses can do things better than the big guys -- some can't," said George Smith, a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org. He added that he was not surprised that FBI officials are using only small businesses on this project because that has been a well-established practice throughout the federal government.

"And not all big contractors are flat-footed or clueless," he said. "You'd have to judge on a case-by-case basis, particularly in the computer software industry."

Caterinicchia is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.

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