TSA issues first IT work orders

The Transportation Security Administration has awarded the first two work orders for its information technology infrastructure.

TSA tapped Unisys Corp. for the agency's billion-dollar Information Technology Managed Services (ITMS) program Aug. 2 but postponed making an official award until meeting with an investment review board.

A group led by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Homeland Security is assessing all projects valued at more than $500,000 at agencies, including TSA, slated to go into the proposed Homeland Security Department.

"I'm not going to let the bureaucrats get in the way of letting us make progress," Patrick Schambach, TSA associate undersecretary for information and security technology, smiled and said at a Federal Sources Inc. breakfast today, then added, "They are sticking to their word. We are getting same-day decisions going through that process."

The board approved the work orders Tuesday evening. The first order covers creation of an enterprise operations center, which includes installing a data center, security operation center and help desk, according to Megan Russell, ITMS contracting officer. The second order covers IT equipment for TSA headquarters and field offices, Russell said.

"I've been claiming victory for about a week now," said Schambach, who also is TSA's chief information officer. "We finally have some money attached to this thing and we're moving forward."

For fiscal 2002, the first order is worth $15.1 million; the second, $8.2 million, Russell said. The funding for fiscal 2003 is estimated at $67.5 million and $154 million.

The beginning stage of ITMS will provide TSA with basic capabilities not "Star Wars stuff," according to Schambach. The program eventually will supply the full range of IT and telecommunications services that support desktop management, enterprise architecture development, cybersecurity and related operations.

ITMS emphasizes managed services, a relatively new procurement strategy in which an agency pays a company for technology solutions that solve a particular problem. In this case, Unisys has a unique opportunity to build an IT infrastructure from the ground up for an agency formed just nine months ago and charged with securing the nation's transportation systems.

"We're starting today," said Michael Glaser, the Unisys account executive for the contract.

The company has teamed with DynCorp and IBM Corp. on the potential seven-year task order, which is performance-based.

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