SAIC to build DHS architecture

The Homeland Security Department has tapped Science Applications International Corp. to develop its enterprise architecture, a massive undertaking that will require integrating the information technology infrastructures of 22 agencies into one.

Lee Holcomb, DHS' chief technology officer, said SAIC was selected from the General Services Administration's Management, Organization and Business Improvement Services contract. The one-year contract is valued at about $1.2 million with several one-year follow-ons.

The company began working on the architecture in May, taking over from Mitre Corp., a federally funded research and development center that handled the initial phase of the project.

In September, SAIC will deliver a transition plan to move the 22 federal agencies now part of DHS from their "current legacy systems to a more integrated system," said Gary Brisbois, the Marine Corps programs manager at Mitre who helped develop a framework for DHS' architecture.

SAIC representatives declined to talk about the company's role in developing the infrastructure.

As DHS continues the tough job of building a new federal agency, it makes sense to tap an existing government vehicle, said Larry Allen, executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement.

"If there is any agency that has a 'get it done yesterday' approach, it's the Department of Homeland Security, and being able to make use of ready-made contract vehicle like the schedule is good for them," Allen said.

Consolidation is the buzzword in the department. In a speech June 26, DHS Secretary Tom Ridge said he planned to control the agency's budget rather than allow the 22 former departments to decide how to spend their budgets.

"We're going to control the IT budget out of headquarters....We cannot build a system if the units in the department are able to go out and contract on their own," Ridge said. "It's the only way we can get the job done."

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