• United States

Unisys snags $750 million, three-year U.S. gov’t contract

Jan 06, 20063 mins
NetworkingTechnology Industry

After helping to create the ground-up IT infrastructure for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration in 2002, Unisys has won a new TSA services contract worth up to $750 million over three years.

In an announcement this week, the TSA said that Unisys will continue to provide Information Technology Managed Services (ITMS) for TSA itself and for the headquarters of its parent agency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

When the TSA was created shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Unisys and its partners was brought in to create the IT infrastructure needed by the fledgling agency and its employee. The TSA now has about 60,000 employees using the IT systems created by Unisys.

The new contract will help TSA integrate its IT operations into an ongoing DHS IT program update now out for bid, according to the agencies.

“With the award of this contract, TSA has begun the process of migrating as quickly as possible to a department-wide approach for IT solutions,” Rick Gunderson, TSA’s acting assistant administrator for acquisition, said in a statement.

The new contract replaces the original TSA/DHS services pact, which expires Jan. 10 and provided a full range of IT and telecommunications services for the agencies, said Greg Baroni, president of Unisys Global Public Sector operations for the Blue Bell, Pa., vendor. Under the new agreement, Unisys will manage everything from desktop computers to laptops, peripherals and voice communications and will provide help desk, e-mail, security, connectivity and other services, Baroni said. Also included are application integration, hosting, testing and related services.

The work supports TSA and DHS employees in various locations, including headquarters, airports and federal security director offices, field offices and the TSA Command Operation Center, the agencies said.

The contract calls for one base year of services, costing the TSA $265 million and DHS $43 million for a total of $308 million. Two one-year options are available, with the full three-year contract price not to exceed $750 million.

Baroni said that when the TSA was created, the original Unisys contract was designed to create basic IT systems for use by the agency’s workers to help protect the nation’s transportation systems. The next step is to provide enhancements and optimization of those original services and systems to further assist the agencies in their work, he said.

When Unisys and its partners, including IBM and Dell, began work under the original contract, all of the vendors stepped up with their best practices to help set up new systems, Baroni said. “It was a very important period of history,” he said. “Everyone stepped in and put self-interests aside to work in the interests of the nation” after the terrorist attacks.

The new TSA went “from zero to 60,000 workers in one year,” he said. “Our job was to make sure they weren’t just standing around. We had to put the infrastructure out there to support them.”

A spokesman for the TSA said the agency awarded the new contract to Unisys after the company satisfactorily completed the original work. “Unisys has performed an extraordinary amount of work under extremely difficult and challenging conditions,” the TSA spokesman said in an e-mail. “Work performance has been measured on a monthly basis under strict performance standards.”


Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist and freelance writer who worked as a staff reporter for Computerworld from 2000 to 2008. Weiss covers enterprise IT from cloud computing to Hadoop to virtualization, enterprise applications such as ERP, CRM and BI, Linux and open source, and more. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves and watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies.

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