Feds Give Unisys Freedom in IT Contract

Unisys and partners will set up IT infrastructure for new U.S. transporation security agency.

Unisys Corp. and partners get to start with a clean sheet of paper in setting up the IT infrastructure for the new U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

The contract, signed last week, gives Unisys and its 31 partners the freedom to select the components they believe will best suit the TSAs goals, according to Clay Foushee, vice president, transportation management and deputy program executive for TSA at Unisys in Washington, D.C.

"We like to refer to it as the utility model. You can buy as much or as little as you need. The government is not buying equipment, but they are buying the services. Unisys and partners buy it (or lease it) and we charge based on the length of services provided," Foushee explained.

Unisys teamed up with IBM and DynCorp Systems and Solutions LLC as primary partners in the contract, initially valued at $244 million for the next 13 months.

The contract, which could be extended for another seven years, has a ceiling of $1 billion.

It calls for Unisys and partners to provide IT and telecommunications services. The contract calls specifically for hardware and software services, help desk, network and security operations as well as business process re-engineering services for the new federal agency.

DynCorp, of Reston, Va., will provide the telecommunications services in setting up a comprehensive network for the TSA, including installing equipment for land mobile radios, encrypted radios, regular telecommunications services, voice-over-IP equipment and lines at TSA facilities.

IBM is responsible for setting up data centers for the TSA. Unisys will act as the prime integrator for all equipment.

Foushee believes Unisys edged out EDS for the contract because of its extensive experience in the transportation industry.

"Were in over 200 airlines around world, onsite at 100 of worlds airports, we have proven expertise in airport IT operations, passenger service and cargo logistics," he said.

"Unisys for years distinguished itself as a world class integrator of new technology for legacy systems, and that is a very important skill set for this effort," Foushee added.

As part of the contract, Unisys will interface passenger screening equipment with legacy systems from passenger reservation systems, law enforcement databases and defense intelligence databases.

"The intelligence gathering, surveillance and passenger screening will rely heavily on intelligence (from those different sources)," said Foushee.

Besides setting up data centers, Unisys will also put in place the necessary IT infrastructure for 429 U.S. airports and 180 other TSA locations worldwide.

The infrastructure will support myriad applications, including human resource systems, scheduling systems for flight marshals and staffing for security checkpoints, standard office systems, secure systems with firewalls for supporting sensitive data, classified data and more.

From Unisys alone, some 3500 employees are expected to be involved in the project.

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