INS awards $400M pact to SAIC

The Immigration and Naturalization Service on Friday awarded a $400 million contract to Science Applications International Corp. to oversee the continued development of the agency's far-flung information systems.

Under the contract -- the first of five to spin out of the agency's $1.2 billion Service Technology Alliance Resources (Stars) program -- SAIC and its subcontractors will act as the primary planner and integrator of ongoing systems development at INS over the next five years. SAIC's team includes Analysis Corp., High Performance Technologies Corp., Intermetrics Inc., Indus Corp. and Management Systems Design.

David Goldberg, deputy associate commissioner for information resources management at INS, said the contract will not require SAIC to revamp or redesign existing INS systems, such as databases tied to Ident, the fingerprint identification system the agency uses to verify aliens' identities or the Computer-Linked Application Information Management System that processes applications for immigration benefits. Rather, the contract is for continuing operation and maintenance of existing systems. Stars will support such systems as enforcement, benefits, border patrol and citizenship, he said.

The INS is "trying to have a consistent and repeatable way of doing business," said Scott Donaldson, SAIC senior program manager for Stars. The performance contractors will bring certain areas of expertise to the program, and "part of [SAIC's] job is to harvest practices across the alliance, [put] them together in a common process architecture and provide consistency across the whole [program]," he said.

The Stars contract replaces a $295 million pact called Information Technology Partnership, awarded to a team led by Electronic Data Systems Corp.

SAIC will act as the manager of work performed by three other contractors yet to be chosen by INS. Those contractors, in what INS calls the "performance" lot, will compete against one another for task orders, Goldberg said. But Stars has built-in incentives to keep contractors from pointing fingers at one another or not sharing information, he said. If deadlines are met, contractors' employees will be rewarded with cash incentives. INS will set aside $500,000 every six months and distribute all -- or some -- of the money based on vendors' "cooperation as a team."

Bob Dornan, senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc., McLean, Va., said INS may have trouble with the compensation plan. "It will be interesting to see how they implement that pass-the-funds-to-the-employee concept in a contractual arrangement," Dornan said. "It kind of concerns me that they would get into...micromanagement of employees' compensation. But if the contractors are willing to tolerate it, it might be an interesting concept."

The lot SAIC will handle represents about a third of Stars' total value. A lot for independently verifying and validating systems work will be awarded to one vendor and will cover about 10 percent of the contract's value. The remaining lot, for performance, will involve three contractors.

Goldberg said he anticipates award of the other lots by July 1, with Stars work beginning in August. A source familiar with Stars said Litton/PRC Inc. had been SAIC's main competition for the business.

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