GAO: Use DHS acquisition pilot

GAO Report: "Further Action Needed to Promote Successful Use of Special DHS Acquisition Authority"

The Homeland Security Department (DHS) has a pilot program that promotes acquisition of cutting-edge products, technologies and services while being exempt from federal statutes, but the initiative hasn't been used effectively and needs more development, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, DHS created a five-year pilot program to use special acquisition authority, also known as "other transactions," which are agreements other than government contracts, grants and cooperative agreements. Exempt from the Federal Acquisition Regulation, accounting standards and other statutes, this authority gives an agency more flexibility in doing business with a company that has traditionally not worked with the government.

Loosely modeled after the Defense Department's other transactions framework, DHS moved quickly by issuing guidance, policy and a management directive on how the other transactions authority should be implemented. But the GAO report said, among other things, DHS did not train contracting and program staff properly so they could fully understand and use the other transactions authority.

The report cited the Science and Technology Directorate's use of the pilot program to develop two projects

Featured

  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

Stay Connected