INS taps Logicon to assess development projects

Logicon Inc. last month landed an estimated $61 million deal to act as an independent auditor of work performed under a sprawling Immigration and Naturalization Service contract.

The five-year blanket purchase agreement covers independent verification and validation (IV&V) services for INS' Service Technology Alliance Resources program.

Stars covers continued development of the agency's information systems - from systems that border agents use to verify aliens' identities to systems other INS workers use to process information about citizenship candidates. INS will be able to turn to Logicon, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corp., to give program officials an unbiased assessment of the development work done by the other four Stars contractors.

Logicon's work as an IV&V vendor will be important in making sure the work is done right, according to Mike Hatcher, a vice president at Stars contractor Electronic Data Systems Corp.

"The purpose of the IV&V [contractor] is to...be the independent eyes and ears of the government," he said, explaining that all major systems development proj-ects will have problems that need to be identified and corrected. "In my mind, [IV&V vendors] are an essential element for mission-critical systems," he said.

A year ago this month, INS awarded contracts to EDS, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp. for primary development of Stars that was estimated to be worth $750 million. Earlier, INS had chosen Science Applications International Corp. to serve as the program's systems integrator.

INS officials originally intended to award another Stars contract for IV&V work. But last summer, after INS officials found no IV&V proposal that satisfied them, they canceled the IV&V lot for Stars. "We could not make an award based on the offers we had in place," said Soraya Correa, the INS program manager who had been overseeing Stars.

But INS officials still were intent on having an IV&V vendor who could inspect work done under Stars. Awarding a BPA for IV&V allowed INS to fulfill the requirement quickly without having to go through the contracting process again, Correa said.

Still, INS officials conducted the BPA award like a full-fledged procurement, conducting a "pre-proposal" conference for potential IV&V vendors before the vendors submitted their IV&V proposals, she said.

But the agency was able to shorten the process by inviting a small set of vendors to submit bids based on services available through their General Services Administration schedule contracts, rather than opening up bids to any vendors to build proposals from scratch. In the end, three vendors submitted proposals for the IV&V BPA.

"This was an expeditious way to go to get it in place," said David Goldberg, deputy associate commissioner for information resources management at INS. "We now have all the pieces [for Stars] in place." A task order for IV&V work should be issued within the next month, Correa said.

For Logicon, the award represents another piece of high-profile work with the Justice Department. The company has been working on IV&V projects tied to Year 2000 problem remediation within the department, said Gus Gulmert, a spokesman for Logicon.

The company also was a recent contract winner under DOJ's broad Information Technology Support Service 2000 proj-ect, as well as the original ITSS contract. Moreover, Logicon served as a vendor for systems work completed this year for the FBI's new Strategic Information and Operations Center, used to monitor and plan for crisis situations.

"This [INS BPA] is a continuation of what we've been doing for a long time," Gulmert said. "We've been supporting the DOJ on one program or another since 1983."

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