DHS looks to smooth the path for tech startups

DHS looks to smooth the path for tech startups

With threats to security evolving faster than state-of-the-art defenses can typically be procured and deployed, the Department of Homeland Security announced an “innovation framework” that uses the flexibility of an  Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) to engage non-traditional government contractors, including start-up companies for solutions to homeland security threats.

Innovation OTS is an effort to help companies that typically do not work with the government consider DHS as a customer for their technology by developing concepts for commercial application. Advantages for companies working in the OTS framework include a streamlined application process, fast-track selection timelines, expedited funds transfer, rapid operator feedback and no dilution of ownership. 

Vendors will submit a short written application for Innovation OTS, and DHS may ask for an oral presentation or pitch. Applications and pitches will be evaluated by a DHS evaluation panel, which will make up to 20 funding recommendations for each topic area. According to the program description, the anticipated time to award after notification that an application has been selected for funding is 30 days.

The first call for proposals is looking for solutions to improve situational awareness and security measures for protecting Internet of Things domains. DHS is specifically looking to help critical infrastructure managers and DHS operational and support components gain comprehensive and continuous knowledge of IoT systems that affect their operations and assets.

“Today marks an important milestone in how we do business,” said Reginald Brothers, DHS under secretary for science and technology. “We want to remove the barriers that limit the nation’s innovators from considering us as a technology partner.”  

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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