Northrop, EDS join CSC on US-VISIT bid

Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT Program

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Computer Sciences Corp. today unveiled its industry partners in a group competing for a multimillion-dollar contract to design and build a system to track foreign visitors.

CSC officials said they submitted their proposal Jan. 22 for the Homeland Security Department's U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program. DHS officials plan to award the contract by May 1.

Core members of CSC's team include Northrop Grumman Corp., EDS and 11 other principal companies with expertise ranging from intelligent transportation systems to risk and threat assessments to wireless law enforcement technologies. In all, there are 50 subcontractors within the alliance, CSC officials said.

"We don't see this as another business opportunity, but instead [it] is a chance to really affect and support [DHS] in securing our nation's borders, and to me, that's exciting business," said Tim Sheahan, president of CSC's Enforcement, Security and Intelligence Division and leader of the team.

Officials said the contract — essentially to build the system's enterprise architecture — could be valued at about $100 million. CSC's team, which calls itself the U.S. Freedom Alliance, is competing against two other firms, Accenture and Lockheed Martin Corp. Originally, a total of six companies expressed interest in competing for the contract.

The multiphase rollout of US-VISIT could eventually cost $10 billion over 10 years since it involves securing the nation's airports, seaports and land borders by leveraging technology, such as integrating databases and using biometric identifiers, to verify and track visitors.

The first phase was rolled out last month at 115 airports and cruise ship terminals at 14 seaports. By December, it's expected to be implemented at the 50 largest land border entry points. The first three phases or increments are not part of this award, CSC officials said.

"The end vision requirement of the US-VISIT [request for proposals] deals with all types of ports of entry," said Ben Gianni, CSC's vice president for homeland security. "So there is an interim US-VISIT, if you will, in terms of Increment 1. There are planned requirements for Increment 2. But there is a later Increment 4 that is an envisioned US-VISIT system of the future."

CSC officials would not discuss details of their application, but said they started the process about 18 months ago. The alliance's three core members have worked on projects of similar scale and complexity.

"On the other hand, it is at the high end of the complexity scale so this will be a worthy challenge for us," said Paul Cofoni, president of CSC's federal sector. "Part of the reason the field may have narrowed over the 18-month period is that recognition of the level of complexity and the scale of the program may have been a factor for others."

Both CSC and EDS are working with DHS officials on the program's initial rollout phases, but company officials would not elaborate. Northrop Grumman is also working with the agency, but on other unidentified projects.

"We did a very analytical, methodical strategy," Gianni said. "We looked at key business, technology and process areas that represented the US-VISIT and interviewed 500 companies as prospective subcontractors, teaming partners for this. And we did probably [interview] over 100 small businesses to look at how they could make meaningful contributions, and we selected the best of the best."

The 11 other principle alliance members are: ARINC Inc., based in Annapolis, Md.; Bechtel Corp. of San Francisco; General Dynamics Corp. of Falls Church, Va.; Anteon International Corp. of Fairfax, Va.; Motorola Inc. of Schaumburg, Ill.; Cubic Defense Systems Inc.'s Cubic Defense Applications Group in San Diego; TransCore Ltd., based in Hummelstown, Pa.; Infoglide Software Corp. of Austin, Texas; the Center for Naval Analyses in Chicago; Creative Information Technology Inc., based in Arlington, Va.; and Orkand Corp. of Falls Church, Va.

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