Science Applications Int'l Corp.: Looking for Lapses

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SAIC is the go-to firm for vulnerability assessments and other consulting work. But it doesn't come cheap.

Where are the weak spots in your organization's security perimeter? Is there a black market in your company's access key-cards? Is your backup data center a power failure away from going dark?

If your company needs answers to such pressing questions, you could do worse than to call on Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) for a vulnerability assessment or other work.

Customers say SAIC has the skills to deliver, but warn that its services don't come cheap.

"They did add value by putting our security planning on the right track," says James Sample, information security manager at the California Independent System Operator (ISO), the not-for-profit operator of the electricity grid in California. In 1998, when ISO was formed, it hired SAIC to plan and implement network security, including public key encryption. ISO later replaced SAIC with TruSecure Corp., a less-expensive security assessment and certification managed-service provider. ISO also built its own, nine-person info security staff. "[SAIC] has tons of government and financial experience. But you do pay a premium for that," says Sample in Folsom, Calif.

Many customers say they get what they paid for. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) last year retained SAIC for $125,000 to study public highway security and produce a handbook that highway officials could use to guard against terror attacks. SAIC was paid another $250,000 to conduct a disaster response training workshop for transportation officials.

Tony Kane, AASHTO director of engineering and technical services, says at least 15 states have begun to implement SAIC recommendations, particularly for bridge security. "All of our members have found the studies to be very useful," he says.

Organizers of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City also found SAIC's work "of very high quality, on both the conceptual level and on the delivery side," says David Schwendiman, a coordinator at the games in charge of public safety and an assistant U.S. attorney. The federal Defense Threat Reduction Agency hired SAIC, as part of a $6 million contract, to plan and build terror-proof command centers and conduct disaster-assessment exercises.

David Schwendi-man says SAIC's Security work was top notch in planning for the 2002 olympic winter games.

Science Applications International Corp.
10260 Campus Point Drive, San Diego, Ca., 92121
(858) 826-6000 www.saic.com

Employees: 40,000
J.R. Beyster

Chairman, President, CEO
Founded the employee-owned company in 1969. Responsible for its strategic direction.

Arnold Punaro
Chairman, Homeland Security Committee
Coordinates SAIC's various homeland and national security businesses, including physical security products and services sold into federal, state and local governments and enterprises.

Wally Kaine
Coordinator, Homeland Security Responsible for physical security products and services mainly marketed to military and government.

Vulnerability assessments, systems integration, emergency response training, contingency planning, and disaster preparedness modeling and analysis. Products include high-tech security tools such as a gamma-ray imaging system for examining cargo containers.

Reference Checks

Connexion by Boeing
Robert Dietterle

Project: In-air Internet access service, due to launch in March; brought in SAIC in 2000 for a vulnerability assessment. California Independent System Operator
James Sample
Manager, Information Security
(916) 608-5891
Project: State's power-grid operator hired SAIC to develop and implement its information security plan.

American Assn. of State Highway Transportation Officials
Tony Kane
Director, Engineering and Technical Services
(301) 996-8225
Project: Commissioned studies suggesting steps for states to take to secure roads and bridges from terror attacks.

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center
San diego
Tom Lapuzza
Public Information Officer
(619) 553-2724
Project: Hired SAIC to assess and propose changes to security processes.

2002 Olympic Winter Games
David Schwendiman
U.S. Department of Justice Local Coordinator for Salt Lake Games
(801) 325-3223
Project: Federal Defense Threat Reduction Agency in 1998 contracted with SAIC to design and build operational command centers for the games.

Weber County Sheriff's Office
Lance Peterson
Director, Emergency Management
Project: Tested a computerized crisis-management training simulation program developed by SAIC for the National Guard.

Executives listed here are all users of SAIC's products and services. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

This article was originally published on 2003-09-10
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