U.S. Visit bidders narrowed to three

The Homeland Security Department has chosen three companies to compete for a massive systems integration contract for its U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology system.

Accenture LLP, Computer Sciences Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. will vie for the U.S. Visit contract, the program office said yesterday. The U.S. Visit program office encouraged would-be subcontractors to contact the three companies for possible teaming deals.

"For the U.S. Visit [program office] to meet its aggressive schedule of issuing the request for proposals in November and awarding a contract in May, pre-RFP discussions will continue to be limited to potential prime offerers only," DHS noted in a statement. The department plans to award an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to one of the three integrators.

Under appropriations legislation passed by Congress and awaiting President Bush's signature, the program is set to receive $330 million in funding for fiscal 2004. The department has estimated that U.S. Visit's total price tag could reach $3.8 billion, with much of the money going to infrastructure upgrades at border crossing facilities.

The remaining funds will be spent on integrating the government's existing border systems under the U.S. Visit umbrella and adding functions to track people's movements as they enter, stay in and leave the country. To make this possible, DHS and the State Department will cooperate on efforts to embed biometric data in travel documents.

Before this week's recent down-select, U.S. Visit team leaders this summer identified five criteria the winning vendor must possess:

  • Have experience in border management

  • Overseen three major IT integration projects over the past five years

  • Displayed a successful track record as a prime contractor on projects valued at more than $500 million

  • Worked on projects requiring global access to real-time applications

  • Be able to support a nationwide project.


  • The General Accounting Office has voiced skepticism about U.S. Visit's program management, saying in a recent report that the program faces significant risks.

    Wilson P. Dizard III writes for Government Computer News magazine.

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