DHS launches vendor Web site

The Homeland Security Department today unveiled a Web site for collecting information on IT products and services from vendors.

Vendors are invited to submit information to the site, at vendors.dhs.gov, to help DHS officials understand technologies that may meet the department's needs.

DHS said that it may ask for clarification or further information using the contacts vendors provide in their submissions. 'Any acceptance of vendor submissions does not expressly or implicitly represent any commitment to procure a product or service,' the department said in the announcement of the site.

The department said submissions would be voluntary and that the information would be for internal federal use. DHS discouraged vendors from seeking nondisclosure agreements.

'It is one way to get a lot of fresh ideas on the table,' said Ray Bjorklund, vice president for market intelligence and chief knowledge officer of Federal Sources Inc. of McLean, Va. 'It is not unlike the approach the Department of Defense took on homeland security in late 2001, when they sought comments from industry about new technologies.'

The Pentagon received thousands of responses, Bjorklund said. But some vendors wanted more immediate feedback, which many never received.

'I am guardedly optimistic. This is one of those challenges of dealing with a relatively new area. It is a very, very complex area,' Bjorklund said.

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