June 1, 2004 12:28 PM PDT

Accenture lands Homeland Security deal

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The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that it had awarded Accenture a contract worth up to $10 billion for help in upgrading the nation's system for tracking visitors.

Accenture, which provides information technology services, beat out rivals Lockheed Martin and Computer Sciences to become the prime contractor for a federal program called US-Visit. The program aims to capture and share data--including biometric data--on foreign visitors.

"This award marks an important milestone in the history of Homeland Security and the US-Visit Program," said a statement from Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary of border and transportation security for the Department of Homeland Security. "By harnessing the power of the best minds in the private sector, we have taken a major step toward accomplishing our goals of enhancing the security of our country while increasing efficiency at our borders."

The contract covers a base period of five years, with five one-year options. The contract value is for a minimum of $10 million and a maximum of $10 billion. Accenture is slated to provide a range of services including strategic support, design and integration activities, training, and "organizational change management."

The US-Visit program is part of a broader push by the federal government to improve security in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Some of the efforts have led to privacy concerns.

In addition, some critics say a "visa-processing quagmire" exists, and call for reforms to better welcome foreign students, scientists and scholars.

The US-Visit program now requires that most foreign visitors traveling to the United States on a visa and arriving at an airport or seaport have the prints of their two index fingers scanned and a digital photograph taken to verify their identity at the port of entry, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Since implementing US-Visit entry capabilities at 115 airports and 14 seaports on Jan. 5, more than 4.5 million foreign nationals have been processed without their wait times being adversely affected, the department said. The program has helped the federal government intercept more than 500 persons with prior or suspected criminal or immigration violations, the department said.

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Where the US leads, the UK follows
With the recent appointment of Ian Watmore (ex managing partner from Accenture and ex head of the Management Consultancy Association) as the UK government's "CIO", I predict that it will not be long before Accenture UK wins a large deal similar in scope to this VISIT monster. I'm opening the bidding at 12 months.
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They deserve each other
Accenture changed their name from Andersen Consulting just about a year before its parent company got caught cooking the books for Enron and others. Not a moment too soon, although it was probably to get away from its own reputation. Of course, the new company's reputation isn't doing any better...
Posted by brianmthomas (8 comments )
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