ECS Federal (ECS) is an IT provider re-inventing itself through acquisitions (and through being acquired), and by re-focusing its portfolio of services and contracts. The company appears to be shifting away from IT infrastructure support, management, and operations, towards a new focus cloud, cybersecurity, IT modernization, and advanced R&D, science, engineering services. This is evident as they replace expiring IT contracts with more specialized and complex service work.
Who is ECS Federal?
Like many other GOVCONs, ECS Federal was built through acquisitions over the past eight (8) years. In April 2018, ASGN Incorporated, a staffing firm shifting to provide IT and professional services, acquired ECS Federal for $775 million.
ECS’s acquisitions include:
- OAK Management –Environmental services, ship systems engineering, maritime consulting, and platform acquisition management (2011)
- Paradigm Technologies – Program and financial management services provider (2012)
- iLuMinA – Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software development (2012)
- Information Systems Worldwide (i_SW) – Technical, integration, engineering, and analysis solutions to the federal government (2015)
- InfoReliance – Cybersecurity, cloud computing, agile software engineering solutions, and managed services (2017)
- DHA Group – Mobility, cybersecurity, cloud, and IT services (2019)
ECS Federal’s customers
ECS Federal’s core work supports the military and other U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) agencies, with additional support for federal civilian and law enforcement agencies.
Seventy-five percent of ECS Federal’s DoD spending is through Washington Headquarters Service (WHS), with additional spending from U.S. Special Operations Command, Defense Health Agency, and Defense Research and Engineering. The WHS funding, which serves as a contracting support for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and other Defense agencies, enables four ECS programs (three of which are discussed further, below): DARPA’s Project Maven and AI support, U.S. Army’s SUNet infrastructure support, and Project Cicero (an Army-led program with little public information).
The ECS Federal portfolio covers an expansive range of programs, without much in the way of a clear direction or focus. They provide services including health IT support, strategic planning, financial management, software sustainment, configuration management, and program management office support.
These contracts were lucrative but lack the focused services that ECS has recently developed.
Recent contract awards demonstrate new focus
In the past two years, ECS Federal has pursued and won contracts focused on using their acquired capabilities. While several of these awards are IDIQ seats with no real spend yet, they indicate momentum in ECS’s pursuit of their vision. These wins include:
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – ECS has supported DARPA for over 40 years, and recent contract wins will continue that legacy of support. Since September 2017, ECS has been awarded prime seats on the $200 million Strategic Technology Office (STO) and $204 million Tactical Technology Office (TTO) IDIQs, in addition to the $850 million DARPA-wide Technical and Analytical Support Services (TASS) contract. These contracts provide R&D, science, and engineering support for the agency’s various missions.
- DARPA, via the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) – Possibly the most notorious contract in ECS’s portfolio is Project Maven, a DARPA project awarded under ARL’s Basic and Applied Scientific Research contract). Project Maven was thrown into the news when Google employees protested the company’s involvement in potential weapon development (Google was previously a subcontractor on this contract but acquiesced to employee protests). ECS has won two task orders worth a combined $169 million for the R&D and design of machine learning (ML), computer vision engineering, artificial intelligence (AI) modeling and software services.
- U.S. Department of the Army – Recent wins with the Army include the $182 million Endpoint Security System (AESS) support and the $173 million Secure Unclassified Network (SUNet) infrastructure support. AESS requires enhanced and modernized security and analytic technologies across 1.4 million Army endpoints. SUNet enables defense agencies to securely collaborate and share information and data.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – ECS Federal was awarded seats on two of NOAA’s Professional and Technical (ProTech) contracts in the Oceans Domain and Fisheries Domain (each with a $3 billion ceiling) to conduct oceanic analyses, studies, and applied R&D.
- U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Mint – ECS supports the U.S. Mint on the $70 million Digital Enterprise Services IDIQ contract. The company provides IT services including modernization, data center consolidation, cloud migration, DevSecOps, agile methodologies, and enterprise cybersecurity.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Under this $38 million cybersecurity contract, ECS manages the Bureau’s Cybersecurity Red and Blue Team (REBL) and Enterprise Compliance and Continuous Monitoring Support Programs to continually enhance the FBI’s security posture and actively hunt for vulnerabilities and threats.
- Cloud Services contracts (multiple) – ECS has established their own Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) and formed partnerships with cloud providers including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Cloud Solutions, and IBM Cloud Solutions. ECS also has several cloud-related contract awards, including $62 million with the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL), $90 million for the U.S. Marine Corps cloud services, and $8 million for the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM).
The FedSavvy Strategies take
As ECS Federal continues to increase work along their refocused solutions portfolio, we can expect them to be a bit feisty in pursuit of cloud, cybersecurity, R&D, and advanced technology opportunities.
Particularly within DoD and DARPA, ECS will likely become a higher-threat competitor or attractive teammate. ECS’s acquisitions and recent contract wins paint a clear picture of their strategic direction and the new ownership through ASGN should provide increased resources to pursue this vision.
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