CIO describes model partnership

Patrick Schambach, the Transportation Security Administration's chief information officer, today described TSA's managed services contract with Unisys Corp. as a model industry/government partnership.

The Information Technology Managed Services (ITMS) program, responsible for building the agency's IT infrastructure, is a partnership based on accountability and results, Schambach said, speaking May 13 at a symposium sponsored by Unisys Corp.

He anticipates the vision will be adopted by the Homeland Security Department and supported by the Office of Management and Budget and the President's Management Agenda.

The ITMS contract was developed and awarded with "lightning speed," Schambach said, with a total of three-and-a-half months from requirements phase to award, including two months from the request for proposals to the award.

ITMS emphasizes managed services, a relatively new procurement strategy in which an agency pays a company for technology solutions that solve a particular problem. Schambach said Unisys stood out among the other vendors for their focus on the agency's business processes.

Building the agency's infrastructure from the ground up has presented a challenge for TSA officials because they were starting with nothing, Schambach said.

Officials are rolling out the agency's IT needs in three phases:

* The red phase, during the first year, focuses on basics such as laptops and cellular phones.

* The white phase, occurring in the agency's second year, involves setting up the wide-area and local-area networks.

* The blue phase, includes the "tech-enabled airport of the future, whatever that means," Schambach said.

He said the agency's focus is on the future and the mission to ensure travelers' safety. "We're not there yet, but we think we've raised the bar considerably," he said.

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