DHS contracting not bound to 'best in class'

Image: Casimiro PT / Shutterstock 

The procurement chief at the Department of Homeland Security said that the agency was more focused on serving its components than on shared services.

Even with increasing emphasis on using "best-in-class" contracts in federal government, DHS procurement chief Soraya Correa said that component agencies need to find the best fit for their operations.

Correa, however, pointed to the DHS EAGLE Next Gen contract and the Flexible Agile Scalable Teams vehicle at the Transportation Security Administration as examples of how the agency and its components won't be tied absolutely by category management policies and best-in-class vendors.

"When you talk about programs like FAST -- or any of the other programs that we have out there, even EAGLE Next Gen -- they are based on our having reviewed our requirements against the available set of vehicles that are out there and our determination that we need to go forward with a particular procurement," said Correa.

FAST is the TSA's multiple-award blanket purchase agreement effort begun in March to help the agency quickly develop mobile applications, microservices, software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service offerings.

EAGLE Next Gen, said Correa, looks to formally adopt governmentwide acquisition contracts run by the General Services Administration and National Institutes of Health instead of developing the next iteration of one of the agency's primary IT services contract, the $22 billion Security Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading-Edge Solutions II (EAGLE II) contract.

TSA's acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell said while TSA also strives for contracting efficiencies, it's also looking to creative contracting methods to bring in innovation.

"We're looking to leverage things like [broad agency announcements] as a way to promote and develop" new ideas, she said. "Anyone can come in with an idea. We will evaluate it to see how it fits against our needs. If it's far enough along, we'll jump it right into testing it out, or look to cycle it into future development."

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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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