USDA follows up IRM contract

With an eye to the future, the Agriculture Department has awarded a follow-on task order, worth up to $200 million, to 11 companies for information resources management development and support services.

The IRM Software Support Services II contract, disclosed Dec. 10, is designed to provide a full range of life cycle management and support for mainframe-system and PC-based software. Among the onsite services it offers are software engineering, computer and telecommunications networking, and imaging support. The contract has one base year and four one-year options.

A USDA contracting officer said the selected contractors would compete for task orders to provide services for the Farm Service Agency, the Foreign Agriculture Service and the Risk Management Agency.

"Every requirement that comes out of the contract is competed," said Dave Lynsell, senior contract relations adviser at IBM Global Services.

Among the tasks will be the inventory management system for FSA, including a system to keep track of the agency's cotton holdings.

The companies are:

* Litton PRC Inc., McLean, Va.

* Computer Sciences Corp., Rockville, Md.

* Electronic Data Systems Corp., Herndon, Va.

* Unisys Corp., McLean, Va.

* IBM Global Services, Bethesda, Md.

* TRW Systems and Information Technology, Reston, Va.

* OAO Corp., Greenbelt, Md.

* Rose International, Chesterfield, Mo.

* N-Link Corp., Bellevue, Wash.

* Science Applications International Corp., Arlington, Va.

* National Systems & Research Co., Colorado Springs, Colo.

Larry Allen, executive director of the Coalition for Government Procurement, a Washington, D.C., industry group, issued a word of caution about competing for task orders.

"One of the things companies have to be aware of when they are competing for task orders is that sometimes the agencies don't always compete among all the task holders," Allen said. "You can only use public policy to alter behavior to a certain degree."

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