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DHSDHS’ RFP could do away with competition: PSC

Published 2 December 2015

The Professional Services Council (PSC) is concerned that a proposed DHS research and development center could eliminate contractor competition. DHS issued an RFP on 14 September for a contract to operate the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center, meant to be a replacement for the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute (HSSAI), which provides independent analysis of policy issues.

The Professional Services Council (PSC) is concerned that a proposed DHS research and development center could eliminate contractor competition.

Federal Times reports that PSC president Stan Soloway, in a 20 November letter to DHS Under Secretary for Science & Technology, Dr. Reginald Brothers, said the RFP for the agency’s Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center may be too broad and could hurt competition.

The RFP for the establishment of the Federally Funded Research and Development Center was issued 14 September and was revised on 24 November. It calls for an Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity contract to operate the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center, meant to be a replacement for the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute (HSSAI), which provides independent analysis of policy issues.

Soloway raised concerns about the language in the RFP, which he said was broad enough to allow Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center to provide capabilities currently offered by contractors, and thus would do away with competition from those contractors as an FFRDC.

Soloway asked for a review FFRDC policy in order to make sure the RFP would not limit competition in the contractor marketplace, but also keep going the work of the research and design centers.

The HSSAI is currently managed by ANSER, a Falls Church-based public service research institute.

Here is the letter in full:

November 20, 2015

Dr. Reginald Brothers
Under Secretary for Science & Technology
U.S. Department of Homeland Security 1120 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20528

Via email: reginald.brothers@hq.dhs.gov

Dear Dr. Brothers:

On behalf of the member companies of the Professional Services Council,1 I am writing to highlight our concerns regarding the DHS Request for Proposal (RFP) to establish a “Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center” (HSOAC) Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) with your office as the primary sponsor.2 While the RFP claims the HSOAC is intended to be a successor contract to the current DHS contract for the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute, PSC questions whether DHS has taken appropriate measures to ensure that the scope of work under the future contract is not overly broad and unnecessarily eliminates effective competition within the private sector to perform functions sought by DHS.