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SBA Rapped on Supervision<@VM>Why Companies Join the 8(a) Program<@VM>GD Nabs Army Messaging Deal<@VM>Andersen Allies with Irish Firm<@VM>L-3 Communications Buys MPRI<@VM>Key Panel OKs Customs Funding<@VM>Logicon Wins Millennia Deal<@VM>Andersen, Epylon Plan E-Solutions<@VM>IRS Taxes 18 for Systems Work

The Small Business Administration came under fire at a Senate Small Business Committee hearing July 20, where three General Accounting Office reports criticized the SBA's information systems as inadequate and lacking proper monitoring of the 8(a) and other programs.

The overall management of the 8(a) program and small business loan programs also were criticized.

At the hearing, SBA Administrator Aida Alvarez laid out a three-phase plan to improve the agency's information systems. In phase I, the agency will improve loan monitoring and lender oversight.

Phase II will cover financial management and disaster lending. Phase III will be for government contracting, business development administrative systems, small business investment companies and surety guarantee systems.

The hearing and GAO reports were part of a performance accountability review. SBA is the first agency to undergo the extensive review mandated by Congress, which all agencies eventually will face.
General Dynamics Corp. won a contract to build the Tactical Messaging System for the Army that could be worth $77 million over four years if all options are exercised. The system will allow command message traffic, such as operation orders, to be passed across the battlefield and fulfills the Defense Department mandate that the Army use the Defense Message System.

General Dynamics will design, engineer and build the system using commercially available products and equipment. The company also will supply spares, warranty service and training.

"We have some stringent requirements to meet, but General Dynamics brings to bear an impressive depth and breadth of talent and experience," said John Martin, General Dynamics Communication Systems vice president for communication and international systems.

General Dynamics' teammate on the project is Data Systems Analysts Inc. of Pennsauken, N.J.Andersen Consulting has formed a strategic alliance with Baltimore Technologies to provide secure electronic environments to governments that offer online services to businesses and citizens.

Under terms of the agreement, Baltimore Technologies, whose North American headquarters is in Needham Heights, Mass., will allow Chicago-based Andersen to incorporate its e-security products into scalable solutions for marketing to government entities.

The agreement is, in part, an effort by the two companies to capitalize on their success building and implementing the online revenue solution EasyTax, introduced last year. Ireland, where Baltimore Technologies is based, was the first government to purchase the product, designed to provide citizens a fast, secure electronic channel for filing tax returns.

"Information that must pass between citizens and the government, and among government agencies, requires confidence that privacy will not be breached," said Sean Shine, managing partner of global revenue agency practice for Andersen. "By coupling Baltimore Technologies' products with Andersen Consulting's deep knowledge of government and technological expertise, we can help our clients respond to these public-sector needs."L-3 Communications Inc. of New York acquired MPRI, an Alexandria, Va.-based provider of training programs to government agencies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by MPRI, which has about 650 employees and provides training and education services for a variety of military programs.

"MPRI is on the leading edge of the privatization of U.S. military tasks," said Frank Lanza, chairman and chief executive of L-3.

The company provides doctrine development for the Training and Doctrine Command, force management for the Army and training for Army ROTC cadets, among other programs. "These programs tend to expand and to lead to other opportunities," Lanza said.

MPRI was founded in 1987 by a group of former military officers.The $2 billion Customs Modernization project cleared a major hurdle July 20 when the House Appropriations Committee approved the Treasury-Postal spending bill.

The bill includes $105 million for the Customs Service to begin building its Automated Commercial Environment, which is the heart of the agency's modernization efforts.

Teams led by Andersen Consulting, Electronic Data Systems Corp., IBM Corp. and Logicon Inc. are bidding on the project, which could be worth $2 billion over 15 years.

The Customs Service wants to modernize and improve the systems it uses to monitor imports and exports. Some of the computer systems used are up to 16 years old and subject to brownouts that shut or slow down trade.Logicon Inc. won a 10-year, $79 million task order under GSA's Millennia contract to provide information technology services to the Defense Logistics Information Service.

Logicon of Herndon, Va., was the prime contractor when DLIS went through a modernization effort in 1990. "This new contract gives us additional flexibility in supporting our customer," said Larry Parshall, project director for Logicon.

Under the new contract, Logicon will manage legacy system interfaces, perform business process re-engineering, develop policies and procedures and deploy integrated solutions to meet DLIS' business needs. Litton-PRC Inc. of McLean, Va., will serve as the primary subcontractor on the program in support of the local area network, end-user computing and help-desk services.Andersen Consulting announced it has formed a strategic alliance with Epylon Corp. that will allow them to collaborate on a comprehensive electronic procurement solution they will offer to the public sector.

At the same time, AC Ventures, the venture capital unit of Andersen, has purchased a minority stake in Epylon.

San Francisco-based Epylon brings to the alliance, announced July 19, several key e-procurement tools. They include eQuote, which instantly produces a price quote for buyers based on the criteria specified, and a number of tools that integrate standard auditing functions into the overall e-procurement process.

The Global Government and Higher Education Services Group of Chicago-based Andersen will work with institutional buyers to customize and integrate Epylon's e-business technologies with existing public-sector client infrastructures. Andersen also will train purchasing professionals to use the solution.

In a separate agreement, Epylon has secured the right to power the Andersen Consulting-Epylon eProcurement solution with software manufactured by Ariba Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. The three companies plan to collaborate on related business development, marketing and product development support activities.The Internal Revenue Service has selected 18 companies to provide information technology services and help modernize computer systems under the five-year, $750 million Treasury Information Processing Support Services-2 Contract, the agency announced July 13.

The companies will be eligible to bid on contracts calling for a wide range of IT services, including telecommunications, information processing and operational support for the IRS, Treasury Department and Treasury bureaus. The IRS, which is managing the program, will be the primary user of the contracts.

Companies selected include Andersen Consulting; Booz, Allen and Hamilton; Dynamics Research Corp.; DynCorp; Electronic Data Systems Corp.; IBM Global Services; Logicon Inc.; Management Systems Designers Inc.; Science Applications International Corp.; and Systems Research and Applications Inc.

Others chosen are TRW Inc., Unisys Corp., Vector Research Inc., ITS Services Inc., Computer Hi-Tech Management Inc., Dichroma Inc., DataSource Inc. and Pragmatics Inc.

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