CSC replaces Unisys in a half-billion-dollar TSA account

Published 12 October 2009

A 2006 DHS IG review criticized Unisys for handling TAS’s Information Technology Infrastructure Program (ITIP) services contract; CSC has now won the five-year contract, potentially worth $493 million

Last week, Falls Church, Virginia-based CSC officially snatched the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Information Technology Infrastructure Program (ITIP) services contract from incumbent Unisys by closing on a five-year deal potentially worth $493 million.

How did CSC do it? This is the burning question asked by many a channel provider, and Channel Insider’s Ericka Chickowski looked into the matter.

An unhappy customer
After spending more than $1 billion in seven years of service with the TSA, Unisys was perceived by key stakeholders within TSA not to have made the grade. A report by DHS’s Office of the Inspector General released in 2006 exposed cost overruns led by potentially fraudulent billing practices, the regular execution of unauthorized contract work, a failure to provide promised deliverables, and an overall dissatisfaction among agency Federal Service Directors (FSDs).

Many FSDs were dissatisfied with Unisys equipment and services,” the report reads. “In our survey, we asked all 158 FSDs nationwide to rate Unisys’ equipment and services. The FSDs’ response rate shows their concern and frustration with [offered] goods and services.” Chickowski writes that although TSA spokespeople did not go into details as to why it chose to put the ITIP contract up for re-bid upon the announcement of CSC’s win, the OIG left the writing on the wall with its 2006 report.

A compelling story
A 50-year institution in the technology services field, CSC has long been a player in government IT contracting. It should thus not come as a surprise that it was picked over a host of competitors vying for TSA dollars.

When it comes down to it, says Pat Schambach, vice president and general manager of the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement (HS&LE) Division for CSC’s North American public sector group, the real winning edge came by way of CSC’s ability understandably and convincingly to put its capabilities and its plans down on paper.

When you think about the evaluation team on the government side and they have these proposals in front of them, all they see is what’s black and white on the piece of paper,” Schambach says. “What we really work on is trying to resonate with them [and show that] we understand and in some ways walk in the shoes that they’re walking in.”

According to Schambach, critical aspects of the CSC proposal included detailed descriptions of what CSC perceived as the TSA’s IT challenges, its proposition for helping them through those challenges and also the plans for getting TSA through the unique demands