DHS seeks to bring more small-biz dollars to veterans

The department hopes that the PACTS contract will help it reach its procurement goals for disadvantaged businesses

Homeland Security Department officials hope a new set-aside contract will help them reach their remaining small-business contracting goal.

DHS is moving ahead with its new Program Management, Administrative, Clerical, and Technical Services (PACTS) multiple-award contract. The contract for non-information technology support services is set aside for service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. That is the one small-business goal DHS failed to reach in fiscal 2006, according to the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Procurement Score Card released in August.

“This type of work — the type of things that we are looking for with the PACTS program — will help us meet those goals and also help that small-business community,” DHS spokesman Larry Orluskie said.

Officials expect the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to be worth as much as $1.5 billion.
PACTS mirrors DHS’ successful departmentwide IT contracts: the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE) contract for IT services and First Source contract for IT products. Similarly, PACTS offers a departmentwide platform for buying non-IT services.  

“The folks at DHS appear to have really, really done their homework on this,” said Robert Waizenegger, executive vice president at Standard Communications, a service-disabled, veteran-owned company. The company plans to bid on PACTS.

“If you look at how we did EAGLE and First Source and how successful they’ve been at helping the department so far, this would be another consolidation, another effort for bringing together the department’s needs,” Orluskie said.

DHS earned a green score, the highest mark, on SBA’s score card. DHS was one of only seven agencies that earned a top score. Except for the veteran-owned small-business goal, DHS met its requirements for awarding contracts to other disadvantaged small businesses in fiscal 2006.

Calvin Jenkins, SBA’s deputy associate administrator for government contracting and business development, said only 1.5 percent of DHS’ contract dollars went to veteran-owned small businesses in 2006 and 1.4 percent in 2007. Most agencies missed their veteran-owned small business goal by an even greater amount. Out of 24 agencies, only the Veterans Affairs Department, SBA and the State Department met their veterans goal in 2006.

The SBA score card uses 2006 numbers because not all agencies have certified their 2007 contracting data. DHS, which has certified its data for 2007, sent 36.4 percent of its contacting dollars to small businesses last year, exceeding the governmentwide goal of 23 percent.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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