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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

TSA has cone of silence over infrastructure contract

The cone of silence that surrounds the Transportation Security Administration’s lucrative infrastructure contract continues.

The winning bidder of the Information Technology Infrastructure Program contract, Computer Sciences Corp., won’t talk. Neither will the protesting losing bidders, Unisys Corp. and General Dynamics Corp.

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TSA might as well be silent because all they will say is: “TSA is implementing the recommendations of the Government Accountability Office.”

So what does that mean?

My understanding is that the bidders have resubmitted proposals and everyone is waiting until TSA issues another decision.

When I asked TSA for a time frame for the decision, I was offered "No comment" as a response.

Meanwhile, Unisys as the incumbent continues to support TSA’s IT infrastructure under a contract it won in 2002 shortly after TSA was created. The work has brought in more than $1 billion for Unisys, so it’s understandable they are fighting so hard to keep it.

GAO has released a redacted version of its decision, and though it is just one side of the debate, it does sharply criticize TSA’s procurement processes.

The crux of the protest centers on pricing. CSC’s bid had the lowest overall price at $467.2 million. Unisys was the highest at $510.8 million. General Dynamics' bid was $500 million. What GAO found was the CSC’s bid didn’t include significantly lower labor costs for the option years of the contract. TSA apparently didn't notice.

GAO also questions whether CSC would be able to hire Unisys’ workers, which was part of their proposal, for the labor rates it had in its contract.

CSC also bid a 3 percent incentive, while the others bid 5 percent because they were under the impression that the 5 percent fee was a requirement.

CSC did score better than GD and Unisys in its technical approach where it scored Good, compared to Acceptable for General Dynamics and Unisys.

My guess is that in the resubmitted bids CSC's prices is probably higher. General Dynamics and Unisys probably lowered their bids. If the technical evaluations hold, then CSC still should have an edge. But that’s my uneducated guess.

Eventually, TSA will make a decision, and there will probably be another round of protests. This time, I predict, GAO will side with TSA and work on ITIP will start, finally.

And the rest of us can move on.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 16, 2010 at 7:23 PM


Reader Comments

Wed, Mar 17, 2010 Rafi Sela DC

What else is new??? OBAMA and Napolitano let TSA wihtout a chief for over a year!!! Does this tell you something? This government GOES NOT want to solve REAL security issues and treats it like another political media response. What bothers me is the amnrican public. Does nyone care??? Unless you have a lobby like the body scanner people nothing will move in DHS. I pray daily that the enemy does not take advantage!!!

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