DHS considers new structure for EAGLE II

Defined 'functional categories' may be outmoded, agency believes

The Homeland Security Department is considering a follow-on contract to a $45 billion information technology governmentwide acquisition vehicle that would eliminate the contract's functional categories and allow competition across the board. Functional categories divide the holders of multiple-award contracts into areas of expertise, limiting competition for a given task order to those companies that are within the appropriate functional category.

DHS awarded the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions contract in 2006, giving 25 large companies and 28 small firms a position on the vehicle. As of January 2009, about 300 task orders had been awarded through EAGLE with a total value of $6.8 billion.

DHS is considering awarding a successor contract, to be called  EAGLE II-Unrestricted, but has not yet committed to doing so, according to a notice issued Sept. 22 on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. DHS is evaluating two strategies for EAGLE II: either reducing the five functional categories to three or eliminating the categories altogether, according to the notice.

Under the second option, there would be a single award pool where all EAGLE contractors would be eligible to compete for all unrestricted EAGLE task order solicitations, the notice states.

If that occurs, it would be a significant change from the current practice and would likely increase the intensity of competition, said Ray Bjorklund, senior vice president of FedSources, a market research firm.

“It could be the Wild West,” Bjorklund said. “It opens opportunities for more aggressive competition.”

The category-less approach is realistic because it reflects vendors’ and clients’ difficulty at mapping and defining the boundaries of their expertise, Bjorklund added. But it also might be abused if vendors promise more expertise than they can deliver.

DHS officials said in the notice that they're contemplating the changes because of their experiences with the current EAGLE contract, including their observations of how often agencies awarding task orders use certain of that contract's functional categories, and also "the need to accommodate pricing strategies, which allow for adjustment over the life of the contracts, as well as the use of industry best practices, such as green invoicing and quality certifications.”

The initial EAGLE contract covered five years with two option-years. Task orders continue to be awarded. For example, last month, SRA International won an award to handle cybersecurity for the Transportation Security Administration.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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