In response to questions about CGI's record, CMS spokeswoman Tasha Bradley said: "Unfortunately, the experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans. HealthCare.gov can and will be fixed, and we have called in additional technical help from across the country to solve some of the more complex technical issues."
Administration and CGI Federal officials have said the company obtained the contract through a competitive process. CGI Federal has said the government considered its proposal to be the "best value." The company is on a list of pre-screened contractors who regularly do work for the Department of Health and Human Services, making CGI Federal eligible for projects requiring a fast turnaround on the grounds that it is familiar with the agency's operations.
In an interview, Gorber, the CGI spokesman, declined to comment on the company's work on HealthCare.gov. He pointed to earlier statements in which CGI officials said they delivered their portion of the project as required and faulted CMS for launching the website despite insufficient testing.
"What's important now,'' he said, is that CGI is "fully committed to being part of the solution.''
CGI officials rejected any comparison with AMS' earlier failures.
AMS was a pioneering name in government contracting. It was formed in 1970 by five former Pentagon officials known as "whiz kids,'' part of a group hired by Kennedy-era defense secretary Robert McNamara to systematize defense management.
The company expanded dramatically over the following decades, eventually winning IT contracts with a wide range of federal agencies and top corporations. AMS was among the first to "recognize the real contribution that the introduction of technology could make to the federal government,'' said Paul Brands, AMS' chief executive from 1992 to 2001.
By the late 1990s, however, the firm was growing so fast amid the dot-com boom that staff turnover and declining quality were becoming problems, former employees said.