Engineering Contract Set for Takeoff<@VM>Andersen Contemplates IPO<@VM>Customs Gets Thumbs Up<@VM>NIC Acquires Software Firm<@VM>Aussie System to Save Bucks<@VM>Michigan Awards Reservation Deal<@VM>CSC Security Lab Certified<@VM>Wang Wins Seat Contract

Proposals are due Nov. 16 on a $7.4 billion Air Force deal the service will use to bundle numerous contracts it uses to buy engineering services and spare parts for aging aircraft and weapons systems.

Called the Flexible Acquisition Sustainment Tool, the contract will run seven years. As many as five teams are expected to win a spot on the contract. An award is expected to be made by May 2001.

The winners will compete for task orders to supply the Air Force with engineering services, logistics support and manufacturing needed to keep aging planes flying and older weapons systems operating.

Companies expected to field teams include Boeing Co. of Seattle, DynCorp of Reston, Va., and Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md. At least one team will be led by a small business.

Andersen Consulting of Chicago is considering a partial public stock offering to accelerate its growth, now that it has split from the accounting firm Arthur Andersen.

Andersen Consulting would offer less than 50 percent of its stock for sale to the public.

The decision to consider a public offering was made at a meeting of 2,500 Andersen partners in Miami Oct. 12.

If Andersen chooses the public offering route, it will be following the footsteps of KPMG Consulting LLC of McLean, Va., which filed registration documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission in May to go public. No date has been set for KPMG's IPO.

Besides doing the financial, legal and regulatory work necessary to file for an IPO, Andersen also is planning to begin life under a new name after Jan. 1, a spokeswoman said. The new name, still under wraps, is one of the conditions established as part of Andersen's split from Arthur Andersen.The Customs Service's $2 billion modernization effort got a major boost when the Senate joined the House in approving the Treasury Department appropriations bill.

The bill provides about $130 million for the Customs Service to get started on the project, which will update and improve the information systems and processes the agency uses. The contract is expected to last 15 years.

At press time, the request for proposals had not been released, but it is expected no later than Oct. 27. The agency announced in early August it will use a streamlined acquisition process that relies more on oral presentations, rather than a written document, for technical and management proposals.

Four teams are chasing the contract. They are led by Andersen Consulting of Chicago, Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas, IBM Corp. of Armonk, N.Y., and Logicon Inc. of Herndon, Va.National Information Consortium Inc., an e-government solutions provider, acquired Oct. 16 Intelligent Decision Technologies Ltd. of Longmont, Colo. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

With the acquisition, NIC of Overland Park, Kan., plans to combine its multistate filing portal for the trucking industry with IDT's operations, company officials said.

IDT offers business-to-government solutions to help the trucking industry comply with the Commercial Vehicle Information System Network administered by the Federal Highway Administration.

IDT's electronic credentialing services for commercial vehicles include registration, permitting and tax filing software. IDT has contracts with state governments in California, Kentucky, Maryland and Minnesota. An electronic procurement system developed by iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions, a Sun-Netscape alliance in Santa Clara, Calif., could save the government of Western Australia more than $100 million a year, iPlanet officials said Oct. 16.

Sun Microsystems Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., Solution 6 AlphaWest of Perth, Australia, DMR Consulting Group Inc. of Edison, N.J., and iPlanet developed the Government Electronic Market in just three weeks. The group won the contract in August and had a Sept. 1 deadline for the first transaction.

The system automated and streamlined the government's spending on materials, operations and repairs. The system will be rolled out to all levels of government during the next 18 months.

The government of Western Australia spends about $5 billion a year on goods and services at a cost of $75 to $100 per transaction. Officials predict that the GEM system could reduce the cost to less than $10 per transaction.Biospherics Inc. of Bethesda, Md., won a three-year, $9.5 million contract from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to operate its central reservation system.

The contract is part of Michigan's aggressive effort to increase use of its parks through a reservation system. It will include online payment, said state and company officials.

Biospherics' software will support a Web site that will handle online payment and a toll-free call center allowing visitors to use the Internet or the telephone to reserve campsites and tours.

With the new system, visitors to Michigan state parks will be able to make campground reservations from six months ahead of time up until the day of arrival, said Rodney Stokes, chief of the Department of Natural Resources' Parks and Recreation Bureau.

The reservation system will be operated by Biospherics employees and Michigan State Park personnel, company officials said. Biospherics currently operates reservation systems for the National Park Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources State Forest and Park Service.Computer Sciences Corp.'s Hanover, Md., Common Criteria Testing Lab has been accredited by the federal government to test information security software.

Accredited laboratories use international standards to ensure that security software performs as producers claim. Four other laboratories have received the accreditation.

The accreditation was granted by the National Infrastructure Assurance Partnership. The partnership, a collaboration of the National Security Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, seeks to improve the quality of information security products and systems, and establish an IT product security evaluation program supported by a number of accredited, independent testing laboratories.

Accreditation requirements include an analysis of the lab's procedures, completion of a proficiency exam and an onsite assessment of the lab's facilities.

"The achievement of NIAP accreditation ... marks CSC's commitment to quality, world-class performance and continuous improvement in meeting the most comprehensive requirements for developing and performing security evaluations," said Tom Robinson, president of the Defense Group for CSC of El Segundo, Calif.Wang Government Services Inc. of McLean, Va., won a task order under its Seat Management contract to provide desktop outsourcing services to the State Department's Foreign Building Operations office.

The initial work will cover 1,100 users in the Washington area, but that number is expected to grow as the project progresses, Wang officials said. The Foreign Building Operations office owns or leases about 12,000 properties around the world for the State Department.

The 10-year task order marks the State Department's first foray into desktop outsourcing.

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