DHS delays decision on $5b buy

CIO Steve Cooper will consider alternatives to the Spirit acquisition.

Olivier Douliery

The Homeland Security Department is taking more time to decide whether to continue or scrap a multibillion-dollar IT acquisition.

The department last week announced it would defer until about Aug. 1 a decision on the future of the Security Planning and Integrated Resources for IT procurement. The $5 billion, five-year Spirit procurement was put on hold May 7, pending a reassessment.

A request for proposals for dozens of contracts covering virtually every IT service DHS uses had originally been scheduled for release last week.

But the Coast Guard procurement office managing the Spirit project now says the department 'expects to complete review and finalize a decision relative to the DHS Spirit acquisition' by around Aug. 1.

The department's CIO, Steve Cooper, elaborated on the announcement in an e-mail statement: 'Greg [Rothwell, DHS' chief procurement officer] has proposed that we do a review of the Spirit procurement.

'Based on that review, Greg's office will make recommendations as to alternatives for Spirit: Continue as is, modify or terminate,' Cooper said. 'It is premature to speculate as to what action may be taken.'

The vendor community was buzzing last week about the fate of the massive acquisition.

'A lot of people have spent a lot of money chasing this procurement for a year,' said Phil Kiviat, a principal in the consulting firm Guerra, Kiviat, Flyzik and Associates Inc.

Vendor sources agreed that managing an IT acquisition with dozens of contracts could strain DHS' fledgling administrative capabilities

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