DHS commodity contract due in November

The Homeland Security Department will issue the final request for proposals (RFP) for its new program to address information technology commodity needs by mid- to late November, the department’s top acquisition official said today.

The $3 billion program, First Source, is designed to encourage small-business participation because it is set aside for businesses with 150 employees or fewer.

First Source is one of two new procurement programs DHS has created to improve how it buys IT. The department introduced the other, the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge (EAGLE) solutions program for IT services, in August.

DHS held off on issuing the final First Source RFP to incorporate more procurement standards into it, Greg Rothwell, DHS’ chief procurement officer, said at an industry breakfast sponsored by Input, a market research group, in Falls Church, Va.

EAGLE has open, competitive bid solicitations and small-business set-asides. The program has multiple indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts and a five-year base with two one-year options for renewal.

More than 1,300 industry representatives were scheduled to attend a pre-proposal briefing today on EAGLE at the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C., Rothwell said.

DHS intends to award both contracts in 2006 and finish them within nine months, department officials said.

DHS wants to “make EAGLE a way of life in homeland security,” Rothwell said. Strengthening EAGLE will make its successor – EAGLE 2, planned for release in 2010 – even more potent, he said.

EAGLE and First Source replace DHS’ Security, Planning and Integrated Resources for IT procurement program. The department scuttled the multibillion-dollar program in 2004 after it proved too complex.

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