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Lockheed Martin Wins Port Worker ID Card Pact January 24, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–The Transportation Security Administration has awarded a roughly $70 million deal for new, secure identification cards for port workers to Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the largest U.S. defense contractor, U.S. Congressional aides said.

TSA and the Coast Guard plan by March to begin issuing the credentials to 750,000 port workers and are asking them to pay up to $159 each for the new ID cards, which labor groups have said is too high a price.

TSA told lawmakers Lockheed Martin was its choice on Wednesday, according to Congressional aides who requested anonymity because the pact has not yet been publicly announced.

“The TWIC contract, which will be announced in the coming days, allows the Department of Homeland Security to continue to move forward and begin enrollment at selected ports in March,” TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser wrote in a Wednesday e-mail.

The Transportation Workers Identity Credential, or TWIC, will be issued to workers who pass government background checks. The cards, which will eventually be required of up to 6 million workers in rail yards, airports and seaports in order to access secure areas, will contain the individual’s photograph and name. A chip also will store the holder’s fingerprint template, a PIN and other unique identifying information.

Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin beat out seven other firms for the deal, including BearingPoint Inc. (BE), which did the bulk of the development work, Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS), International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Motorola Inc. (MOT).

A Lockheed Martin spokeswoman said the company had not heard from TSA and declined to make further comment Wednesday evening. A spokesman for BearingPoint said the company had not been notified of TSA’s decision.

Congress first ordered the IDs in 2002, and after numerous delays, a port security bill passed in October included a requirement that rules for the new card be written by Jan. 1.

The government earlier this month issued a request for bids from 18 companies approved to compete for a separate, multimillion dollar deal to supply new ID cards for all federal employees and contractors.

Lockheed Martin, EDS, BearingPoint and others are all eligible and that contract will be awarded to a single vendor by early in the third quarter, according to the General Services Administration.

The pact is part of a multibillion dollar government-wide program to issue ID cards that use biometric information and other data to all federal employees and contractors by October 2008.

In November, GSA cited business reasons and opted not to extend a similar contract with BearingPoint that could have run for five years and was worth up to $104 million.

Shares of Lockheed Martin Corp., which fell $1.60 to close at $97.14, rose to $97.21 in after hours trading.

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