Acquisition frozen at DHS due to the shutdown


The Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that the government shutdown, now over a month old, is hampering the ability of the agency to respond to contract solicitations.

In a special notice to contractors posted to FedBizOpps on Jan. 17, DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa said her agency was giving commercial contractors who tried to bid on DHS projects in December up to seven days to respond to those opportunities when the shutdown finally ends.

"Given the lapse in funding, there are significant limitations as to the number of employees and the type of work that may continue to be performed in a lapse status," Correa said. "Until funds are appropriated to reopen DHS, business is limited." Correa said

Some DHS opportunities have been amended or updated to account for the shutdown. The Jan. 17 notice informs vendors of "minimum response times" across the board for solicitations from DHS headquarters and components including Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

The notice "shows the compounding effects of the shutdown," said Bradley Saull, vice president of civilian agencies at the Professional Services Council. "It shows what's stacking up on DHS' desks."

The shutdown is already hindering acquisition strategy at DHS components. At TSA, for instance, a $230 million effort to protect key elements of air travel infrastructure from terrorist infiltration through modernized credentialing is on hold as a result of the shutdown.

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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