Feds choose e-travel vendors

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems and Carlson Wagonlit Government Travel Inc. will provide Web-based travel management for the federal government.

General Services Administration officials said today that Northrup and Carlson won the $450 million contract award, a major milestone for E-Travel, one of the Bush administration's 24 e-government initiatives. The 10-year contract is expected to cut federal travel management costs in half, according to a GSA spokesperson.

The goal is to create a Web site that all agencies will use to make travel arrangements and purchase tickets. The new system will manage all aspects of travel, including planning and reimbursement.

"This initiative addresses the challenge of re-engineering the government's travel function," said GSA Administrator Stephen Perry in a statement. "By doing so, it will allow all agencies to benefit from the full buying power of the federal government."

The vision for E-travel from the beginning was to have a commercial firm host and maintain the Web site. That minimizes the cost to the government while delivering quality service, Perry said.

GSA chose the two companies after a six-month evaluation process. Northrop Grumman is based in Fairfax, Va., and Carson Wagonlit is in San Antonio, Texas.

Independent verification and validation testing of both vendors' solutions will start immediately, followed by testing and demonstration for some agencies. GSA expects the system to be available governmentwide by the end of the year. All agencies are estimated to migrate to it by September 2006.

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