DHS requests FirstSource IT commodities proposals

The Homeland Security Department today released its request for proposals for the FirstSource contract vehicle worth up to $3 billion for acquiring IT commodities.

FirstSource will provide DHS with access to Web-based commercial catalogs for hardware, software, networking equipment and wireless and reporting technology.

Vendors will base their catalog product prices on a dynamic pricing model that will assure that DHS receives the lowest prices available for the duration of the contract. The dynamics of IT commodities' prices generally trend lower over time.

'Instead of going to outside contracts or GWACs [governmentwide acquisition contracts], this [FirstSource] will accomplish leveraging DHS' power for the best price,' said Purnell Drew, FirstSource contract officer, at an industry event this week sponsored by the market research firm Input Inc. of Reston, Va.

FirstSource also will support the goal of promoting a functionally integrated DHS with standardized equipment in line with its enterprise architecture. DHS needs access to technological advances and new business practices as they occur that may increase productivity, efficiency and reduce costs, according to the request for proposals.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract vehicle'which is an entirely small-business set-aside'has a two-year base period with three one-year options. Offers are due Jan. 10, 2006. DHS expects to award the contracts in early February 2006.

The department is still committed to the General Service Administration's SmartBuy program, said Dan McLaughlin, director of DHS' Information Technology Acquisition Center. DHS used SmartBuy in May to acquire up to $48.8 million of Oracle software for the department over five years from Mythics Inc. of Virginia Beach, Va.

'If it is not available on SmartBuy, then DHS will go to FirstSource,' Drew said.

The FirstSource and Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (Eagle) contracts will operate from the recently established Enterprise Solutions Office, headed by Sara Schroerlucke, in the Information Technology Acquisition Center within DHS' procurement shop.

Schroerlucke most recently was program manager for the Treasury Department's expiring IT support contract vehicle, Total Information Processing Support Services.

FirstSource is a complementary program to the Eagle program for IT support services. Eagle contractors may use FirstSource as a source for any equipment requirements in their task orders issued under Eagle, today's solicitation said.

Under the enterprise office, a newly formed governance council, made up of all DHS agency CIOs, chief financial officers and chief acquisition officers, will meet for the first time the end of this month to begin to develop policies and procedures so the whole department works off the same business rules, Schroerlucke said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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