Acquisition

DHS cancels $675M cyber support contract

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After repeated delays, the Department of Homeland Security cancelled its more than two-year-old, $675 million solicitation for a Cyber Centric Mission Support Services contract.  That contract was to have provided administrative support and technical services for cybersecurity operations in the agency's National Protection and Programs Directorate and the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications.

Bidders were informed late Feb. 8 that the procurement was cancelled. It's unclear how many vendors submitted bids, but the FedBizOpps website listed 159 interested parties.

"The reason for the cancellation is that the Program Office, the National Protection and Programs Directorate, Office of Cybersecurity & Communications and [the DHS Office of Procurement Operations] has determined that cancelling the procurement is in the best interest of the Government due to changes in CS&C's requirements, a significant reduction in the projected utilization of the vehicle, and the availability of other vehicles that will better meet CS&C's requirements," a DHS contracting officer wrote to bidders in an email message.

DHS did not comment on the cancellation to FCW.

The original solicitation was issued in December 2013, just before Jeh Johnson was confirmed to lead DHS, and before the Unity of Effort initiative was launched to knit the disparate parts of DHS more closely together.

The solicitation sought bids for a Multiple Award, Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contract to provide management and professional support services to help DHS, NPPD and CS&C with a broad set of administrative, clerical, business and program management support functions.

The original deadline for proposals was in January 2014, but a host of vendor questions and DHS procurement office responses most recently pushed the date for final submissions to December 2015 and then to Feb. 15, 2016, before the cancellation notice was posted on FedBizOpps on Feb. 8.

"The decision to cancel the procurement certainly hurts industry," Bradley Saull, the Professional Services Council's vice president for civilian agencies, told FCW. "Unfortunately, I think this is yet another example of how different points of view across DHS along the acquisition lifecycle only got magnified over time and ultimately cost industry significant, scarce bid and proposal resources."

The solicitation would have covered a range of technical duties to support cybersecurity operations using both a small business track and an unrestricted track. The unrestricted track was aimed at more-technical expertise, while the small business track was aimed at taking on administrative and clerical services.

The move came hours before the Obama administration announced its $19 billion budget for cybersecurity as part of its overall fiscal 2017 spending proposal, a 35 percent increase over 2016 spending levels.

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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