Tessada to aid DHS agencies

The Homeland Security Department has grappled with many highly publicized and criticized procurement issues in its short existence.

To counter that criticism, DHS has awarded a five-year unrestricted contract worth as much as $187 million to help the department improve its Office of Procurement Operations.

One of the nine award winners of the blanket purchase agreement for acquisition support services was Tessada and Associates, a company owned by a service-disabled veteran in Springfield, Va.

Tessada can help DHS agencies determine requirements and solicit the documents necessary to make successful acquisitions, said Jim Carroll, principal consultant at Tessada.

“This contract was issued in part because [DHS] has been under fire somewhat over the last several years,” said Paul Young, vice president of strategic development at Tessada.

Critics say DHS’ contracting problems stem mainly from poor planning for major emergencies, procurement difficulties and a fractured purchasing system. They cite as an example DHS’ exuberant spending to train Transportation Security Administration screeners, which cost about $600 million more than originally expected.

“Our job as a support contractor is to bring [DHS] more expertise,” Carroll said. “They are looking to us for consistency in procedures and quality.”

He said he believes DHS has begun to fix its problems, including strategic sourcing issues. “Our job is to help them build more quickly on [those] initiatives that they have begun to put in place.”

The multiple-award, departmentwide contract will help DHS generate business case analyses and devise budgets for its major information technology and non-IT initiatives.

“One of the elements of the BPA that makes it particularly valuable to DHS is that any of the agencies within DHS are authorized to place orders under the BPA,” Carroll said. So Tessada and the eight other consultants on the BPA can quickly provide help to the department for its new initiatives.

“The point being, we have a number of contacts depending on which agency we’re dealing with, which speeds up the DHS procurement process,” he said.

“What I think you are seeing virtually across DHS is all the procurement shops in all the agencies are looking for ways to streamline yet make sure they are very, very consistent with, and in compliance with,” the Federal Acquisition Regulation, he said.

Elaine Duke, DHS’ chief procurement officer, said she intends to use the department’s vast buying power via strategic sourcing and supplier management throughout the department’s eight contracting offices.

“As a maturing organization, DHS faces challenges in conveying to its components the importance of consolidating requirements and collaborating procurement efforts,” she recently told the House Government Reform Committee.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group