PSC wants answers on cancelled $675M cyber solicitation

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The Department of Homeland Security's sudden cancellation of a two-year-old, $675 million solicitation for a Cyber Centric Mission Support Services contract has the Professional Services Council wondering what happened.

The cancelled DHS contracting effort was to have provided administrative support and technical services for cybersecurity operations in the department's National Protection and Programs Directorate and the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications.

The 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 the department more closely together. After repeated delays and a flood of bidder questions, DHS cancelled the solicitation on Feb. 8 during final proposal evaluations. Officials said their needs had changed and other contracts might better serve those needs.

The Professional Services Council said the abrupt cancellation left bidders in the lurch.

On Feb. 19, the council sent letters to DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa and NPPD Undersecretary Suzanne Spaulding to voice concerns about the cancellation and offer assistance in sorting through the process to find some lessons learned.

"Many of our member companies were negatively impacted by the cancellation at this late stage of the procurement and had been waiting for two years since proposals were submitted for a final award decision," wrote Alan Chvotkin, PSC's executive vice president and counsel, in his letters to Correa and Spaulding.

He said the sudden cancellation of such a big project so late in the procurement process wasn't reasonable for potential bidders.

"Unfortunately, this procurement appears to be an example of how different points of view across DHS along the acquisition life cycle only got magnified over time and ultimately cost industry significant, scarce bid and proposal resources," Chvotkin said.

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, 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 or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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