Accenture wins, but could lose US-VISIT contract
A group led by Accenture Ltd. was awarded a U.S. government security contract on June 1 worth up to $10 billion to track foreign visitors by the use of digital photographs, fingerprints or other biometric information as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program. However, the contract was disputed by Congress in mid-June and may be shelved completely.
US-VISIT, which stands for U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, is part of an effort to tighten U.S. borders.
The contract awarded by the Homeland Security Department has a minimum value of $10 million but could be worth up to $10 billion, officials say.
DHS will issue the winning company with a broad mandate to create a “virtual border” including technologies such as retinal scans. But most of the technical details will be up to the vendor and subcontractors. Technologies such as RFID, voice- and facial-recognition, retinal- or iris-scanning, and digital fingerprinting systems will likely be tested.
“[We] will pursue an end-vision for US-VISIT to provide innovative solutions to current entry/exit problems, modernize or replace existing computer systems, introduce new border-management processes, and implement a long-term strategy to address future challenges,” Stephen Rohleder, chief executive of Accenture’s government group, said after the initial award.
The alliance led by Accenture has 30 companies including Dell Inc., Raytheon Co., SRA International Inc., and Titan Corp.
Others vying for the award included Lockheed Martin Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp.
The House Appropriations Committee voted 35-17 to block the Accenture bid on June 9. Parent company Accenture Ltd., is located in Bermuda, which lets it avoid owing certain U.S. taxes and has sparked resentment by many lawmakers in recent years.
“It’s simply wrong” for DHS “to award a corporate expatriate with the largest contract to date,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told The Associated Press.