Under Contract

Federal agencies in July awarded several companies with contracts to help the government perform administrative tasks, official training and manage vast amounts of data.

•The Transportation Security Agency awarded a contract worth nearly $17.7 million to Ramcor Services to train air marshals and other federal air officials using “role play” activities. Solicitation documents released by the TSA say managers should “[challenge] others to develop as leaders while serving as a role model and mentor.” Actors in the scenarios should be able to stand for long periods of time, handle being handcuffed, have no “fear or emotional response of canines” and be able to use nonlethal weapons. The contract lasts for almost 5 years.

• The Defense Department awarded Portraits Inc. with a $31,200 contract to paint the official portrait of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. The portrait, required by the department, must be “executed by an artist experienced in commissions of presidential cabinet Level or other senior/high ranking officials,” the documents say. The company has been around since 1942 and was responsible for producing the portraits of former President George W. Bush, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and former secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, among others.

• ECRI Institute could earn more than $22.1 million over the next five years from its contract with the Department of Health and Human Services. Last week, the department awarded the independent nonprofit with the contract — which costs $4.7 million in the first year — to “migrate, operate, maintain and enhance” the National Guideline Clearinghouse and National Quality Measures Clearinghouse, which aims to provide doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals with “objective, detailed information.” 

•The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is paying more than $4.7 million for staffers to help the agency with research projects. Ascendant Program Services, a Maryland-based advisory firm, won the contract this week. USTDA “monitors” about 400 ongoing projects worldwide, in addition to adding about 100 new ones each year, it said in contract documents. The contracted staffers will also help set up meetings and events for the agency, as well as other administrative tasks.

• The Department of Health and Human Services is spending $3.7 million for a maximum of five years to help improve customer service and outreach for the Head Start program. The contractor, DSFederal Inc., will bring in staff to work with the agency to manage and track Head Start grants, including helping ensure those receiving funds  follow the regulatory standards.