TSA issues RFI for next-generation EDS

Published 24 January 2006

As we have reported, there has been a noticeable shift in the focus of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — from scissors and box cutters to explosive detection. TSA has even given a name to its effort to encourage the next-generation of explosive detection machines: Manhattan II. Resemblance to the Second World War-era Manhattan Project is not accidental. The project was launched in 2004 with the stated goal of bringing new detection technologies on line by 2010, and the time since then was devoted to proof-of-concept trials. This initial phase culminated in one-year cooperative agreements with ten firms who offered innovative approaches. TSA has now posted a new request for information (RFI) and will soon issue a formal solicitation for system development contracts.

The FY2006 DHS spending bill allocated $175 million for buying explosive detection systems (EDS), of which $45 million was to be directed toward next-generation systems. The FY2005 spending bill had earmarked $10 million for the Manhattan II project. DHS also has another initiative for developing next-generation EDS technologies, the short-term Phoenix program, which focuses on technology which is in use or emerging.

The current RFI is available online but only to registered contractors.

-read more in Zack Phillips’s CQ report (sub. req.)