INS awards first task orders under $1B program

The Immigration and Naturalization Service last week awarded Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp. the first task orders off a broad $1 billion computer systems contract that the agency will use for everything from enhancing border enforcement to compiling financial data.

The task orders were awarded through the Service Technology Alliance Resources (Stars) program, which INS launched last year to serve as its primary vehicle for IT services.

EDS received a task order to oversee operations, maintenance and some development of the agency's management systems used for financial and accounting tasks, managing electronic documents, personnel management and general office automation. The task order also calls on EDS to support the agency's Internet and intranet operations.

Under its task order, CSC will oversee systems for law enforcement functions that help INS agents track cases under investigation.

"These are systems that support the [INS] mission," said David Goldberg, deputy associate commissioner for information resources management at INS. "These systems are integral to the INS mission."

The task orders have a one-year base. When they expire, they may be recompeted among CSC, EDS and Lockheed Martin Corp., the three vendors that last year won Stars "performance" contracts, which cover systems development and maintenance. But Goldberg said the agency has set up Stars so that INS will not have to recompete the task orders if it is in the agency's "best interest" to continue with the current vendors.

Over the first year, the EDS task order is expected to be worth $7.1 million, and CSC's task order is expected to be worth $7.4 million. But observers estimate that the two task orders together could be worth about $75 million over the five-year life of the STARS contract.

The two task orders are the first of several task orders that will be issued over the next six to eight weeks, said Mike Hatcher, the EDS vice president overseeing the company's work on Stars.

Other task orders to be awarded will cover inspection systems, biometrics and other assorted IT infrastructure.

These first task orders also represent the beginning of an experiment in contracting. INS has designed the Stars contract so that its contractors' employees could earn cash awards for meeting deadlines and working well together. INS will set aside $500,000 every six months and distribute all, or some, of the money based on vendors' cooperation as a team.

"It's a very, very unique model, and I think there are a lot of folks watching this to see if it is successful," Hatcher said.

Work performed by EDS and CSC on the task orders will fall under the guidance and monitoring of Science Applications International Corp., to which INS awarded a $400 million contract in May. The contract, the first to be awarded under Stars, calls on SAIC to serve as planner, integrator and overseer of Stars work.

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