CIS contracts in the works

The Homeland Security Department’s U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wants to sign contracts for five new IT projects by the end of the fiscal year, the agency’s CIO said yesterday.

For the first project, USCIS is looking for systems integrators to help integrate agency data and build a case management solution, Tarrazzia Martin said at an Industry Advisory Council lunch in Washington, D.C.

The second project will digitize USCIS’ mountains of paper-based data and make it usable through the agency’s enterprisewide data management tools, Martin said.

The third project is a managed-services agreement to assist DHS' larger One Network, One Infrastructure plan, she said.

For the fourth project, USCIS is seeking companies to manage its call centers, she said.

The final project will assist the agency's application support centers with capturing biometric information, she said.

“We are ready to roll and we need help,” Martin said.

The agency, which handles many of the non-enforcement functions of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, is looking for business partners in the private sector, Martin said.

In the 14 months since she came to the agency, Martin has had four main goals, she said. The first was to create the Office of the CIO and coordinate more than 400 IT specialists in the agency’s field offices and headquarters, she said.

USCIS must modernize its infrastructure so it can share records and maintain data integrity, Martin said. When she arrived, the agency was running on a Microsoft Windows 95 platform, she said.

The agency must embrace enterprisewide application integration as it moves toward a services-oriented architecture, Martin said. When she arrived, USCIS had 63 IT systems in place, all with different data, and none of them could communicate with one another, she said.

Finally, USCIS must develop an immigration case management system that will enable users to quickly access all available information on people in the system, Martin said. A crucial part of the system will be migrating as many customers as possible to a Web portal through which they can make online transactions and access their information, she said.

Martin said she is learning from the IT successes and failures of other federal agencies, including the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Education Department.


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