DHS exorcises SPIRIT

Homeland Security Department officials on Friday canceled their plans for a far-ranging, multibillion-dollar information technology services contract known as SPIRIT because it did not fit in with the agency's overall strategy.

The Security, Planning and Integrated Resources for Information Technology (SPIRIT) program was originally developed for the U.S. Coast Guard before it became part of DHS. But DHS officials delayed the program and then decided it would not work for the entire agency apparatus that encompasses 22 former federal agencies, including the Coast Guard, according to a spokeswoman.

DHS spokeswoman Valerie Smith said DHS chief information officer Steve Cooper and chief procurement officer Greg Rothwell made the decision to terminate the project. Instead officials will be looking at other ways to develop an acquisition strategy for DHS.

"We're in the process of developing it and will discuss as it is more fully formed," Smith said. "We will make IT acquisition objectives to mission requirements while assuring they support the enterprise architecture interoperability and configuration management."

Homeland Security Department officials had previously decided to reassess their proposed five-year, $5 billion IT services program, delaying the release of the final request for proposals for at least another month.

The sudden postponement frustrated technology company officials, many of whom have been waiting at least a year to bid on the proposed contract. But some IT experts were not surprised that SPIRIT was terminated.

"I think they were too bold in trying to extend it to the entire department," said Ray Bjorklund, a senior vice president at Federal Sources Inc., a market research firm.

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