recommended reading

Alaska native firm played role in failed medical review board software project

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. // Charlie Riedel/AP

Work on a botched program to develop software for the Defense Medical Examination Review Board was performed by an Alaska native company, said Steven Davis, a spokesman for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. The command’s Atlantic center contracted with software engineering firm Barling Bay LLC to support development of a medical records system that has come under fire for failing so severely that responsibility for the work was transferred to the General Services Administration.

Barling Bay is a subsidiary of Three Saints LLC, a holding company headquartered in Anchorage. Under federal law, Alaska native firms receive preferential treatment in government contracts.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., chairwoman of the contracting oversight panel for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, charged in a Dec. 7 letter to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert that SPAWAR’s management of the contract for service academy exams was “so inadequate that the General Services Administration had to assume responsibility.” The review board determines the medical qualification of more than 50,000 applicants annually for appointment to a U.S. service academy, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

McCaskill also told Greenert that software development is “now behind schedule and more than $7 million over budget because SPAWAR underestimated the project’s cost.” A Defense source told Nextgov, “the anticipated delivery date is unknown, but it certainly won’t be delivered until late 2013, if at all.”

Davis did not define the scope of Barling Bay’s responsibilities on the contract.

The 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act gives Alaska native corporations special contracting advantages aimed at benefitting disadvantaged and economically depressed communities, but critics say the program has lined the pockets of non-natives and done little to aid those it was designed to help, Government Executive Magazine has reported in articles dating to 2005.

Barling Bay, which has corporate offices in Charleston, S.C., seven miles from SPAWAR, was the fastest growing company in the state in 2011, according to a press release on the Three Saints website.

Established in 2002, Barling Bay had revenues of slightly less than $30 million in 2010, according to a company presentation that described work on health care systems projects for the Military Health System, the Veterans Affairs Department and the Navy Bureau of Medicine.

VA told Nextgov last week that it has an agreement with SPAWAR for the command to work on a number of information technology projects, including development of the integrated electronic health record with the Defense Department.

McCaskill has scrutinized Alaska native corporation contracts for years, and in 2010 introduced a bill to curb their contracting preferences and followed up with similar legislation in 2011.

Barling Bay and Three Saints did not return calls for comment. Davis said SPAWAR is working to successfully complete the review board project, but provided no time line.

Threatwatch Alert

Stolen laptop

Wireless Heart Monitor Maker to Pay $2.5M Settlement to HHS After Laptop Stolen

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.