OMB vendor support may merge

Industry support for the e-government and federal enterprise architecture program offices within the Office of Management and Budget may be consolidated under a recent contract awarded to Touchstone Consulting Group Inc.

A Sept. 30 e-government program office support contract that OMB officials awarded to Touchstone, Blueprint Technologies Inc. and Unisys Corp. includes an option for enterprise architecture work.

OMB's contract with the architecture program office's current prime contractor, Advanced Performance Consulting Group (APCG), expires Dec. 28. There is no option to renew the group's work period, officials at the General Services Administration told Federal Computer Week. GSA administers OMB's information technology program office contracts.

The Touchstone contract, potentially worth $6.7 million if all options are exercised, goes beyond the APCG contract's scope, said John Sindelar, GSA's deputy associate administrator in the Office of Governmentwide Policy. According to Steve Lynott, Touchstone president, the new deal covers portfolio management; performance analysis and assessment; communications and outreach; and subject matter expertise and administrative support.

Officials are reviewing ways to "maximize efficiency and continue forward with a solution that provides the best value to the government," Sindelar said in a written statement. Consolidating contractor support does not change the goals of the enterprise architecture and e-government offices, he said.

Touchstone is already doing some architecture work as an APCG subcontractor. The other subcontractor is High Performance Technologies Inc., which recently hired people to replace the architects who left the company this summer, said Ira Sachs, HPTI senior technical director.

Whether Touchstone and its partners are selected to provide support for the architecture office is likely a decision OMB officials are postponing until the new chief architect is formally appointed, according to an industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. The position of chief architect has been vacant since April, and de facto acting architect Richard Brozen, a detailee from NASA, returned in mid-October to his home agency.

Complicating the matter of announcing a permanent replacement is a House recommendation that OMB eliminate the position. Embedded in the report on the Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies spending bill, which controls OMB's funds, is language calling for the office's closure.

Language calling for the chief architect's elimination is not included in the corresponding Senate spending bill, which cleared the upper chamber's appropriations committee Sept. 14. The full Senate has yet to vote on it, and Congress is on recess until after the election.

Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for e-government and IT has recently assumed the duties of chief architect.

RELATEDLINKS

"CIO Council to help with architecture changes" [FCW.com, October 20, 2004]

"Evans takes on chief architect work" [FCW.com, October 19, 2004]

"House legislation puts chief architect role in limbo" [Federal Computer Week, Oct. 18, 2004]

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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