Contract to centralize visa info

The State Department and its far-flung consulates will get a new, centralized electronic repository for the hundreds of thousands of immigrant and tourist visas and passports it processes every year under a $72-million information technology contract recently awarded to a Virginia company.

The Orkand Corp. already holds a five-year contract to maintain, service and install IT systems for State's Bureau of Consular Affairs. But on Jan. 26 the company was awarded a new five-year contract after it was re-bid to include new task orders, according to Orkand officials.

"The thing [consulate affairs] is moving toward is incorporating a centralized repository, so the information at their foreign site is replicated and stored" back in State's headquarters, said David Trask, Orkand vice president and program director for the State contract.

In addition, Orkand will help the consulates develop and manage their Web sites, he said.

Trask said the work will cover about 230 foreign locations.

Additional details of the contract have yet to be released.

Trask said State officials will issue additional task orders sometime later this week or next.

The new contract will kick in on March 1; it will overlap with the current agreement for about three weeks, ending March 21.

The primary focus of the new contract, like the old one, is ongoing support and maintenance of consulate systems. Under the contract, the company will replace primary equipment such as desktop servers and components every 36 months, and upgrade software and applications every 18 months, he said.

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