SAIC and its teammates will help INS develop the requirements for those task orders, manage the competitions among the contractors for such work and, in an additional twist, ensure the contractors work together in the INS' best interest.
INS projects to be developed and deployed under the STAR umbrella include a case tracking system, a naturalization claims system and a system for tracking arrivals and departures of international visitors.
"A lot of people are going to be watching us closely," said Scott Donaldson, senior program manager of the contract for SAIC. "The idea of cooperation and how that happens is going to be tricky stuff."
INS is so committed to cooperation that it is putting its money where its mouth is by offering bonuses to employees that promote teamwork.
SAIC officials are now developing a "cooperation index" to score the contractors. Bonuses that could total as high as $500,000 per company will be paid according to the score the companies achieve.
The money will be paid directly to contractor employees, and not to company coffers, in the form of bonuses up to $3,000, Goldberg said. No bonuses are paid if two or more contractors fail to make adequate scores, he said. "We wanted to bring some peer pressure."
Plans call for INS to pick the four contractors working under SAIC by July 1. Bidders include CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Va.; Computer Sciences Corp. of El Segundo, Calif.; Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas; Keane Inc. of Boston; and Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md.
Three of the companies will compete to develop and deploy systems, while the fourth will be conducting independent validation and verification of the systems, said David Goldberg, INS deputy associate commissioner for information resource management.
The project's structure combines the old, single-source way of fielding systems with the newer, multiple award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts, Goldberg said.
"We've got an approach that moves back to the center," he said.
As the winner of the systems management and integration services contract, SAIC will make sure the systems built by the other contractors are integrated and meet the IT strategy for INS that SAIC and its team of subcontractors are developing, Donaldson said.
SAIC's subcontractors include Analysis Corp. of Fairfax, Va.; High Performance Technologies Inc. of Reston, Va.; Indus Corp. of Vienna, Va.; Intermetrics Inc. of Burlington, Mass.; and Management Systems Designers Inc. of Vienna.
INS wanted the cooperative approach to avoid problems, such as contractors not sharing important information and no one wanting to take responsibility for problems with a project, Goldberg said.
"This is really a different way of doing business," Donaldson said. "A lot of people think this is a good idea and it is very forward thinking."