Ungodly Politics

"Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh." - Al Swearingen


Sunday, September 28, 2003  

I hereby turn the blog over to my wife, Haele, for a post. There's been a lot of mention about the evil SAIC, due to their being asked to vet the Diebold machines for Maryland. She has this response:

"Y'know, this is getting to be too much; I work in government contracts and understand the process - it's obvious that there's a lot of people out here who are used to civilian-based work who are trying to spin a typical contracts driven company that began as an employee owned research and development service provider to universities and various government organizations into this big, bad organization that was formed specifically by the BFEE.

Yes, there are lazy, greedy, beltway bandit types in SAIC - that's a given, considering the nature of a company that has employed over a million people over the past thirty years in the field of government-funded research. From NASA to CDC, from NOAA to DOD and the State Department, from the EPA to OSHA or the CIA, SAIC goes where the contracts are.

From my understanding of the history of this company they no more support the Bush administration than they did the Clinton adminstration, or any other administration.
The critical thing to understand about SAIC and all of its subsidaries is that, like any other business that wishes to survive, they go where the contract and money are.

Their 'political support' shows it -

I checked at OpenSecrets.org -

SAIC - SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERN
WASHINGTON,DC 20024
4/24/2002
$25,000
NRCC/Non-Federal

SAIC - SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERN
WASHINGTON,DC 20024
INFO REQUESTED
10/31/2002
$10,000
NRCC/Non-Federal

SAIC SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNAT
WASHINGTON,DC 20006
3/30/2001
$30,000
DSCC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNAT
WASHINGTON,DC 20006
3/28/2002
$25,000
DSCC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC-SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNAT
WASHINGTON,DC 20024
3/30/2001
$10,000
NRCC/Non-Federal

SAIC
MCLEAN,VA 22102
6/10/1998
$20,000
1998 Republican Senate/House Dinner Cmte

SAIC
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
6/23/1997
$7,500
DNC/Non-Federal-Corporate

SAIC
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
10/10/1997
$2,500
DSCC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
9/28/1998
$5,000
DSCC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC
MCLEAN,VA 22102
3/14/1995
$250
DNC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC
MCLEAN,VA 22102
6/15/1995
$15,000
DNC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC
MCLEAN,VA 22102
5/22/1996
$15,000
DNC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
6/6/1996
$10,000
1996 Republican Senate/House Dinner

SAIC - SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERN
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
2/16/1995
$3,000
NRCC/Non-Federal Account

SAIC - SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERN
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
6/12/1995
$200
NRCC/Non-Federal Account

SAIC VOLUNTARY
SAN DIEGO,CA 92121
7/10/1996
$2,500
DNC/Non-Federal Corporate

SAIC-SCIENCE APP INTL CORP
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
7/8/1996
$10,000
NRCC/Non-Federal Account

SAIC-SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTL COR
WASHINGTON,DC 20004
7/7/1995
$20,000
NRCC/Non-Federal Account


My understanding is that Beyster himself, the corporate structure, and most of the board on average are moderate type Republicans with a few moderate Democrats thrown in, but as for the company, it's pretty clear that considering those "dinner donations", there's only about 5K difference in donations over the years between parties - and when considering "the price" of government contracts, looks as if more money went to the Dems to pay the price of admittance.

Again, the issue to remember with SAIC is that they make their profits through the amount of work they can get and the amount of full time employees they can keep. It is imperative to them as a business to insure that they can do what they contract to do, and if they can't, provide a solution to the reasons that keep them from keeping their customer happy (for the most part). SAIC does not get money from outside shareholders and other investors who drive bottomline profits; their "stock" is all internally issued - when an SAIC employee quits or gets laid off, they have to sell back their stock.
Example, when Telcordia had to lay off 500 employees ago due to restructuring and SAIC was hit with the loss of several critical contracts to Carlysle companies two years ago, all SAIC employees and subsidieries suffered - and they still haven't really recovered. See, even though there's a lot of irons in the fire, as it were, SAIC has very few "sole source" contracts with stable funding - the majority of the work they have with the government is on bid work where they are regularly audited and unless there's a major award rate bid into the contract upon completion, they generally just break even.

More SAIC divisions are losing contracts in this Bush administration, contracts than they did during the Clinton administration. It's common knowledge that in this administration, a company has to pay to play - and the word I've heard is that they aren't at all happy dealing with the crooked budgeting and contracts that the federal side is coming up with. (Hey, a crook would rather deal with an honest man rather than another crook, right? - same issue in business in the federal governments contracts side...)

From what I understand, the inside word is that many of the higher-ups at SAIC would actually support a Clark or Dean administration, where they could highlight the ability SAIC specializes in - to provide "solutions" in terms of cleaning up the messes that this administration is creating.
Again - SAIC doesn't really "create" anything physical or does any tangeble, physical hands-on type government work that would be useful in, say, a war - they make money where the contracts are, and it doesn't matter who's in charge - for this company, there's actually more money to be made in evaluating, research, and support, with the rare installation and/or maintenance - work for a customer - than there is in actually producing the end product or being a customer.

Look at the type of work they do. For every contract like this -




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 02, 2002
SAIC Port Security Simulation System Provides Versatile, Portable Tool for Homeland Security
(ORLANDO, FL) – SAIC today announced major enhancements to its port security training system, including the ability to train under changing weather conditions and respond to possible terrorist attacks involving chemical and biological weapons. The system is being demonstrated at the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., from December 2 to 5. SAIC is located in exhibit space 1242.


there's items like this:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 04, 2002
SAIC Teams with EPA at Research Triangle Park
SAIC Team of Scientists Help EPA Spur Demand for High Performance Computing and Scientific Visualization Support
(RALEIGH, NC) – Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) announced today that its newly-opened branch office in Cary, N.C, will support the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) high performance computing and scientific visualization efforts at Research Triangle Park. SAIC's Systems Development Center (SDC) scientists will provide systems engineering solutions to EPA's National Computer Center, the National Environmental Supercomputing Center, and the Scientific Visualization Center.
"EPA has made significant investments to perform these complex operations that will support the scientific community in assessing global climate change impact, toxic impacts on the human respiratory system, and other elusive, but potentially significant, cause-and-effect relationships," said Mark Day, director of EPA's Office of Technology Operations and Planning. "We are convinced that we have the computing power to meet the demands of the environmental community, and we look forward to SAIC's scientific and systems engineering support in helping design and implement the software applications sought by that community."
or -

this -
SAIC and Business Leaders Present BusinessLINC Report to Vice President Al Gore
(WASHINGTON) – Today Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and other participants of the Clinton Administration's BusinessLINC Initiative presented Vice President Al Gore with a report that profiles successful business-to-business programs fostering economic development in distressed communities. At a reception hosted by the Department of Treasury, company CEOs were recognized for their involvement in revitalizing these communities by providing support and commitment to small business development.


........


Here's another SAIC company - SAIC/Fredrick...




SAIC-Frederick, Inc., a subsidiary of SAIC, is the Operations and Technical Support (OTS) Contractor for the National Cancer Institute at Frederick (NCI-Frederick) a federally funded research and development center. The mission of SAIC-Frederick, Inc. is to provide scientific, technical, management, administrative, and logistical support to National Institutes of Health (NIH) intramural laboratory research and development related to the causes of and cures for cancer and AIDS. Intramural research is that conducted by Government scientists operating within various units of NIH, principally the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the largest institute of NIH. We also conduct basic and applied research in cancer and AIDS; operate and manage the Advanced Biomedical Computing Center (ABCC), the world's only supercomputer devoted exclusively to biomedical research; and conduct large drug and natural product screening programs.



There's also wildlife ecologists, alternative energy consultants, and NOAA oceanographers tracking global warming and weather patterns employed by SAIC and their subsidiaries.

Yeah, SAIC is a big company. But again, it's employee owned, and ultimately, it's the ability to remain employed and keep getting contracts based on a halfway decent reputation that drives the company, not getting profits and cheating customers. There's a certain amount of long-term thinking that goes on. While many of their employees tend to follow contracts around, allowing the occasional Hatfill wandering in on the coattails of a contract SAIC qualified for to end up employed, usually those folks end up out on their can once it's seen that there's a problem with either their program, their work habits, or their ethics.

......


As for the work they do, again - what do you expect? They started out as a military contractor - as many other small businesses started up by military veterans in San Diego, Long Beach, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Virginia Beach/Norfolk, et all - and that's their specialty, for good or for bad. Again, for these thousands of people, to stay in business and keep employed, they have to keep working on their contracts. For many of them, it's a choice between this type of employment, or hoping to make it up to manager at a local RadioShack while one is sending out resumes in fields over-run by graduates of National University and ITT tech.

.......

Yes, I work for an SAIC subsidiary, and I can tell you this from experience - my division has lost over $3 million in revenues the past two years because of "war", and SAIC has lost far more than that, even as they are bidding for "Homeland Security".
Unless there's a sole source contract that has mandated funding, most contracts money dries up and the company has to let people go when things happen such as the fleet deploys to go to war, federal departments consolidate, programs aren't funded, contracts put on hold, or bases close.

SAIC's bosses might suck up to whomever is in charge whether they approve of them or not, just as all CEO types do to get the money flowing. Currently, in the federal government contractor world, the word is out - unless you're on the bandwagon, you get whatever is left over. So unless one wants to lose more contracts, one bites the bullet and hopes that someone more sane will take over soon.

Haele

posted by lazarus | 14:40 | |
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