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CDC increases competition with $5 billion IT contract

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has signed a $5 billion deal with 30 vendors that will compete for information technology work during the next decade, CDC officials said on Thursday.

The agreement, which consolidates several expiring IT contracts, continues and expands a seven-year initiative called the CDC Information Technology Support Project, which Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. won in 2003 to provide service to more than 200 information systems. The agency now operates about 400 major systems, according to the solicitation for the new information management services project.

The incumbent companies are among the winners of the new contract, which was awarded on Sept. 23.

Some analysts said the pact makes sound business sense given the fact that the billions of dollars will not be paid out all in one year and CDC's good track record on fiscal responsibility.

For example, every major spending category at CDC is either flat or declining going into fiscal year 2011, according to Ray Bjorklund, senior vice president at market research firm FedSources. He also noted the agency recently combined its 13 IT infrastructure services to cut operating costs by 21 percent, or $23 million, according to CDC officials.

The 10-year deal is an indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contract for information management, management consulting and IT infrastructure. The vendors will vie for tasks in each of the service areas. Information management involves the planning, development and life-cycle maintenance of systems; management consulting includes broad services such as business case development, training, communications and program risk assessment; IT infrastructure encompasses help desk services, network support, data center operations, information security and conferencing assistance.

"CIMS covers the entire range of IT services at the CDC, while CITS covered a more limited scope of IT -- application and information management," Lockheed spokeswoman Kimberly Jaindl said.

CDC Chief Information Officer Jim Seligman said on Friday the agency tried "to get a broader array of suppliers as well as ongoing competition" to obtain the most cutting-edge tech and achieve better pricing.

CDC relies on computers for communicating information and for supporting research such as conducting epidemiological studies that require scientific data management and performing complex analyses of population data. The solicitation for work, issued December 2009, stated the contract would provide services to offices in Atlanta, where most of the agency's 15,000 employees live; Cincinnati; Morgantown, W.Va.; Hyattsville, Md.; Research Triangle Park, N.C.; and other cities. Support also must extend to staff working in developing nations and at quarantine offices in major urban areas.

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