TSA turns to DHS’ innovation program for solicitation ideas, EIS telecommunications contract receives ‘best-in-class’ designation from OMB, and more. This is Public Spend Forum’s Weekly Roundup for May 4, 2018.
TSA Turning to Silicon Valley Innovation Program for Innovative Ideas
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) needs low-key, automated screening tools and is asking non-traditional vendors for ideas. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate and the TSA issued a call for innovative ideas through the Silicon Valley Innovation Program. “TSA is very interested in those solutions that facilitate adaptive image interpretation and provide object recognition capabilities that recognize and adapt to changes in objects, materials and other aspects of passenger property,” according to the solicitation. This is the first call the TSA has done in conjunction with the Silicon Valley Innovation Program.
GSA’s Telecom Contract Receives OMB’s ‘Best-in-Class’ Designation
The General Services Administration’s (GSA) Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract passed the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) rigorous performance test to receive a “Best-in-Class” (BIC) designation, meaning the new telecommunications contract is considered a preferred vehicle by the OMB. “The EIS BIC designation allows acquisition experts to take advantage of pre-vetted, governmentwide contract solutions; supports a governmentwide migration to solutions that are mature and market-proven; assists in the optimization of spend within the governmentwide category management framework; and increases the transactional data available for agency level and governmentwide analysis of buying behavior.” The EIS contract joins 31 other BIC contracts, including GSA’s Alliant and Schedule 70 IT contracts.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) made recommendations regarding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week, after finding that their current budget reporting doesn’t account for how much it actually spends on its acquisitions. “This disparity is due in part to the manner in which the department reports budget information,” GAO said of its assessment, referring to how the DHS currently reports its budget by aggregating operations and support costs by mission, rather than by individual acquisition program. GAO made a three-point recommendation that they believe will help DHS will better reflect estimated costs and enhance visibility for congressional oversight.
Acquisition officials who spoke at a Government Information Technology Executive Council summit this past week said agencies are likely to get a better solution by going into an acquisition without specific expectations. As Avi Bender, director of the National Technical Information Service at the Department of Commerce, explained during a panel discussion, agency expectations of what they need to solve a problem don’t often match the best solution. According to Eric Cho, project lead for the Procurement Innovation Lab at the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Acquisition Regulations even explicitly provide for contracting officers to be more innovative in their execution of the acquisition process.
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