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1/21/2010
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IBM Acquires 'Eyes Only' Specialist

Big Blue's buyout of NISC deepens its presence in sensitive areas like homeland security, defense, and intelligence.

IBM has acquired a little-known tech vendor with big links to the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and other security-related government agencies.

National Interest Security Company, of Fairfax, VA, was bought out by IBM from DC Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum, the companies said Wednesday. The deal includes NISC affiliate Technology and Management Services, Inc.

NISC specializes in handling sensitive tech work for defense and security agencies. It counts more than 1,000 employees, the majority of whom carry top-secret security clearances. Its Board of Directors includes former CIA director Michael Hayden, and five retired U.S. Armed Forces generals or admirals.

The firm's president, Andrew Maner, is a former chief financial officer at DHS and a former chief of staff at Customs and Border Protection.

IBM said it was drawn to NISC's expertise in fields such as systems engineering, biometrics, software development, critical infrastructure protection, and "media exploitation," which involves forensic examination of digital media files in criminal or military investigations.

Most recently, NISC was tapped by DHS for an $8.8 million, 42-month contract to support the agency's Partnership and Outreach Division.

IBM said the acquisition of NISC would complement the data analytics services it provides to civilian agencies and departments.

"IBM analytic and innovative prowess, combined with NISC's industry knowledge and depth of experience in defense, healthcare, energy, and infrastructure management services will allow us to deliver an unprecedented level of service and support to our growing list of government clients," said Chuck Prow, a managing partner in IBM's public sector services unit.

IBM's acquisition of NISC comes at a time when federal spending on information technology is expected to grow modestly over the next several years. Market watcher INPUT predicts a growth rate of 3.3% through 2014, bringing the fed's tech spending to $100 billion, compared to $85 billion in fiscal 2009.

IBM said it expects the deal to close in the current quarter.



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