CSC beats NASA workers for shared services

Computer Sciences Corp. won a competitive sourcing competition over federal employees to manage the new NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) the Stennis Space Center.

The $230 million, 10-year contract, announced last week, will centralize administrative and transactional duties currently taking place throughout each NASA center and its headquarters. These activities include human resources, procurement, financial management and information technology operations, NASA officials said. "The cost-efficiency is typically 20 to 30 percent savings," said Barbara E. Moffatt, vice president of business development for CSC's Federal Sector Information Technology and Sciences Solutions division.

CSC competed with NASA employees and other private vendors in an A-76 competition to win the contract. A mix of civil service and contractor employees will staff the shared services center, with the transition scheduled to begin in October through September 2008.

Mississippi will contribute $23.7 million for construction of the facility. Louisiana will add $1 million to train local residents for jobs. Construction should start in June and be completed by October 2006.

CSC officials estimate about 350 CSC employees, with expertise in SAP finance, federal human resources, grant administration and IT, will work with about 150 NASA employees.

According to NASA spokesman Doc Mirelson, it is unknown whether there will be a reduction in the space agency's workforce as a result of the move. "Our number one priority is to not get rid of people," Mirelson said. "We've got a couple years before that really would become a necessity. ... We're going to do our best not to create turbulence within the NASA workforce."

NASA employees will have the opportunity to transfer, apply for jobs or get promoted. Also, each NASA center will have a NSSC contact team, which would provide additional job opportunities.

NASA officials said that CSC employees will perform work subject to the competition, while civil servants will continue with inherently governmental work. The types and number of positions will be determined during the transition, NASA officials added.

CSC has experience with building its own shared services center for payroll, travel and expense, accounts payable and procurement. "We have been able to leverage our lessons learned to various contract clients," said Thomas P. Anderson, president of CSC's Federal Sector Information Technology and Sciences Solutions division. "Now, NASA will be able to benefit."

The move will let NASA focus on science on engineering rather than administrative tasks, Moffatt said. The NSSC is part of a growing trend in which agency officials create shared service centers to increase efficiency and decrease spending. A recent Accenture report states that 85 percent of government executives expect that their agencies will use shared service centers.

Agencies that currently use shared service centers for various business functions include the General Services Administration, Defense Department, Agriculture Department, Interior Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Office of Management and Budget plans to include shared services in its lines of business initiative.

Lockheed Martin Information Technology will team with CSC on the NSSC project.

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