Cybersecurity

How DHS is laying the groundwork for its move to OASIS

DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa

DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa

The Department of Homeland Security agreed in July to use the General Services Administration's big professional services contract, and officials are now trying to get existing DHS contractors to share their experiences with their GSA counterparts as the department prepares for the transition.

In remarks at a DHS Cybersecurity and Communications Industry Day on Dec. 16, Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa said she has been having contractors under DHS' Technical, Acquisition and Business Support Services (TABSS) meet with One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) contractors to share their insights into how to work with the agency.

Correa said TABSS contractors might have more experience working with DHS than companies involved in GSA's OASIS do, and could help those companies when DHS makes the transition to OASIS. TABSS expires in two years.

However, she acknowledged that experience can be a double-edged sword. When the audience, composed mostly of current and potential DHS contractors, asked whether OASIS was a "forced fit" for DHS, Correa said that for the general kinds of services DHS wanted from OASIS, extensive experience wasn't necessarily a prerequisite.

DHS-specific experience "is good, but it can be limiting," she said, adding that relying on contractors with long histories with the agency can sometimes means DHS is "not exploring what's new."

When DHS agreed to use the $60 billion OASIS back in July, Correa said adopting the vehicle as part of the agency's strategic sourcing program could help DHS take advantage of GSA's efforts to improve proposal evaluation and negotiation processes, ordering lead times, and transparency.

At the time, Jim Ghiloni, GSA's OASIS program director, told FCW he expected DHS to place orders worth $250 million annually through that contract vehicle.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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