• Calls grow for federalizing government building security

    DHS’s Federal Protective Service (FPS) has a budget of about $1 billion, and employs 1,225 full-time workers and 15,000 contract security guards at more than 2,300 federal facilities nationwide; in fiscal 2009 the service obligated $659 million for guards, the single largest item in its budget; a GAO reports criticizes the work of many of the guards and the contracts which employ them, and lawmakers debate whether to federalize federal buildings security responsibilities

  • DHS's chief of commercialization: competition for contracts stiffer than ever before

    The good news is that there is an abundance of private-sector companies that want to work with DHS; the bad news is that with competition being stiffer than ever before, companies seeking business have to try harder to differentiate themselves from the crowded field

  • Pentagon contractor said to have set up a private unit to kill militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan

    A U.S. government contractor alleged to have diverted funds to set up a unit of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill suspected militants; “While no legitimate intelligence operations got screwed up, it’s generally a bad idea to have freelancers running around a war zone pretending to be James Bond,” one U.S. government official said

  • Smiths Detection's mid-sized X-ray system added to TSA's Air Cargo Screening Qualified List

    By August 2010, all cargo carried on passenger planes will have to be screened; Smiths Detection’s latest addition to its list of cargo screening machines — a pallet-sized scanner — is the company’s sixth technology approved to help shippers meet TSA August 2010 100 percent air cargo screening deadline

  • Unisys withdraws protest to GAO over TSA's ITIP contact

    Unisys filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office over the awarding the TSA’s Information Technology Infrastructure Program (ITIP) contract to Computer Sciences Corp; the ITIP award has been worth over $1 billion to Unisys and going forward was valued at $500 million over five years to run TSA’s information technology infrastructure; Unisys has now withdrawn the protest

  • PharmAthene says its anthrax vaccine is superior to first-generation vaccine

    PharmAthene’s anthrax vaccine, called SparVax, will require three doses over a 60-day period — the first-generation vaccine requires five doses over 18 months; a course of treatment with the currently available vaccine costs about $125; SparVax would cost just $45 a treatment

  • Private industry sees opportunities in cybersecurity

    Nadia Short, director of Strategic Planning and Business Development Information Assurance Division at General Dynamics: “The release of the [DHS] budgets earlier this month indicate a growth in cyberspending across all the services…. With that, as well as continuing the natural evolution of what cyber will mean for dot-gov and dot-mil, it will mean nothing but opportunity for private industry”

  • $150 million anthrax vaccine contract goes to firm with close Democratic Party ties

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on the evening of 29 December that it was awarding PharmAthene $150 million to develop and produce an anthrax vaccine; FOXNews notes the strong ties to the Democratic Party of senior company executives

  • Bill would prohibit use of private security contractors in war zones

    Two U.S. lawmakers introduce a bill which would prohibit the use of private security contractors in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan; one-fifth of the U.S. armed forces in Iraq consists of private contractors, while in Afghanistan that number reached one-third

  • LGS on Lockheed Martin team for $31 million DARPA cyber assurance contract

    LGS selected by Lockheed Martin as a subcontractor for a 31 milllion dollar DARPA-funded contract to develop cyber procedures which will provide military untis with dynamic bandwidth allocation

  • U.S.-Mexico border fence hobbled by delays, technical problems

    The future of the U.S.-Mexico border fence is in doubt; the project, contracted by DHS to Boeing, has been plagued by technical glitches from the start; among other things, the radar system had trouble distinguishing between vegetation and people when it was windy; also, the satellite communication system took too long to relay information in the field to a command center; by the time an operator moved a camera to take a closer look at a spot, whatever had raised suspicion was gone; Obama’s proposed 2011 budget cuts $189 million from the venture

  • Contractor surge: 56,000 contractors to accompany the 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan

    The Obama administration’s decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan is just one aspect of the surge; these troops will be accompanies by up to 56,000 additional contractors; as of September, the Defense Department had 104,101 contractors employed in Afghanistan

  • Lawmakers question the number of DHS contractors (but what is the number?)

    Do you know how many contractors DHS relies on to carry out the department’s mission? Nobody knows; the best we have is a DHS estimate: about 10,520 in the Washington, D.C. area alone; six years ago DHS tried to do a head count of contractors, but the industry resisted and the project was dropped; DHS says its estimate is based “on algorithms, taking the cost of the contract and taking valid formulas” for estimating personnel required to execute the contracts; “[these figures are] as accurate as we can get under the current conditions”.

  • New Orleans $1-billion flood defense revised

    To head off a possible $150-million to $300-million cost overrun on the $1-billion Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex in New Orleans, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has redesigned the waterway; trading off some “nice to haves” for necessities.

  • DHS procurement office considers contract hybrids

    Government agencies are supposed to be using performance-based contracting as much as possible, but this approach is not suitable for all procurements; DHS says it will begin to hybrid contracts which would blend different approaches