DOT transfers TASC duties

Information Technology Omnibus Procurement

The Transportation Department has transferred the functions of the Transportation Administration Service Center (TASC) into the Office of the Secretary, a top official said.

TASC handled the day-to-day operations of DOT's $10 billion Information Technology Omnibus Procurement program, known as ITOP. The center came under review following a critical audit by the department's inspector general.

The IG found fees paid to TASC for administering ITOP did not generate enough revenue to cover its expenses. Additionally, DOT was a secondary user of the program with about $200 million in procurements—just 8 percent of the $2.4 billion awarded to ITOP contractors, according to the IG.

On Dec. 29, 2002, the department split TASC into two, transferring the center's functions to the offices of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and the Chief Information Officer, said Kim Taylor, Transportation's CIO.

They are "in the process of getting aligned," Taylor said. The rearrangement includes consolidating infrastructures and reducing operating costs to the department.

"Overall, we found that ITOP has not served DOT's mission as envisioned, is not financially self-sufficient and has received little oversight from DOT management," Transportation IG Kenneth Mead said in his report.

The April 15, 2002, audit previously prompted Transportation officials to forgo seeking an extension from the Office of Management and Budget of the executive agent designation that allowed the department to run ITOP as a governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC).

Although ITOP lost its GWAC status, Transportation continues to offer it within the department for existing and new task orders. Agencies outside DOT also can use the contract to procure IT services under the Economy Act.

The changes to ITOP have not stopped new business from coming in. The Transportation Security Administration is using the vehicle to award task orders for its billion-dollar Information Technology Managed Services program.

"ITOP actually invented the idea of a GWAC," said Steve Kelman, former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and now professor of public management at Harvard University's Kennedy School. "The procurement community will always remember the people who initially took the initiative to set up [the contract] as pioneers."

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