Technology to be domain event at DHS

The Homeland Security Department plans to shift its technology acquisition strategy to issue contracts covering several domain areas across the department's component agencies, CIO Steve Cooper said today.

Cooper's speech in Bethesda, Md., introduced the long-expected replacement of DHS' menagerie of legacy contracts with a logical array of consolidated, streamlined technology purchasing vehicles.

At a breakfast meeting held by the Bethesda chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Cooper said part of the plan is intended to create additional opportunities for vendors, but many existing contracts would end.

After characterizing DHS' component agencies as vertical columns, Cooper said the department's domain-based technology contracts would 'take the vertical columns and flip them on their sides.'

As a result, department employees will begin to 'think in terms of domains across the infrastructure regardless (of the component organizations),' Cooper said.

He described the domains as follows:

  • Integration standards, including such activities as standards, policies, procedures, enterprise architecture, engineering services, network operating centers, the department's security operating center, business services, security services and disaster recovery/continuity services, each serving as its own subgroup

  • A large domain formed of network services such as WANs, LANs and connectivity among the department and its federal, state, local, tribal and private partners

  • Data center services

  • A broad domain of help desk services

  • Collaboration services

  • Commodity services including servers, software licenses and maintenance.

Cooper said DHS plans to begin issuing requests for information, draft proposal requests and proposal requests in January, after department employees complete internal discussions of the domain approach. In the meantime, DHS plans to begin a relatively small acquisition that still would amount to millions of dollars for headquarters enterprise portal services that will be out within a month, Cooper said.

As for existing contracts, 'We expect there will be a transition period,' he said. 'We are not going to jump from the current state to the desired end state.' The department's operations and maintenance contracts are to remain in place during the transition.

'What we have to figure out is how we bring together the end points on a lot of these contracts,' Cooper said, noting that they end at different times of the year. Some of the existing contracts likely will overlap with the new domain contracts, he said.


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