DHS agencies can't wait for BPA
- By Mark Rockwell
- Sep 10, 2013
Two Department of Homeland Security component agencies are looking for ways to continue wireless communications services for their personnel while DHS deals with the protest of a department-wide strategic sourcing contract for wireless communications.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement's investigative directorate -- Homeland Security Investigations, or ICE HSI -- and the National Protection and Programs Directorate's Federal Protective Services (NPPD/FPS) have both filed limited-source justification notices in order to pursue stop-gap, sole-sourced contracts for wireless services.
FPS provides integrated security and law enforcement services to federally owned and leased buildings, facilities, properties and other federal assets. ICE HSI's 10,000 employees are responsible for investigations into immigration crime, human rights violations and human, narcotics, weapons and contraband smuggling, financial and cyber crime and export enforcement issues.
The documents, posted in the final days of August on FedBizOpps, show the two agencies want to extend expiring wireless services contracts for six months as the protest of an overarching DHS Blanket Purchase Agreement for wireless services is resolved.
DHS' wireless BPA is not related to a similar BPA announced by the General Services Administration in May. GSA's BPA, called the Managed Mobility Program, is aimed at streamlining the procurement process for federal agencies looking to get mobile device management, mobile application management, and mobile lifecycle management solutions through existing government-wide contracts and purchase agreements.
DHS' BPA is apparently similar in scope, but aimed at DHS component agencies. The agency, however, would not respond to requests for the plan's details. HSI's extension request said the DHS strategic sourcing vehicle was awarded in May, but the protest has since put it on hold. The document does not identify the protestor.
In its filing, ICE HSI said it wants to continue its wireless and data services contract with Sprint to cover 15 special agents-in-charge spread over more than a dozen offices from Washington, D.C., to Hawaii. The service plan includes domestic and global voice, voice and data plans, wireless data plans and mobile broadband access for six months.
In its filing, ICE said it is conducting an in-depth analysis of wireless needs across the agency -- and that if the DHS wireless BPA is still unavailable when that review is complete, ICE intends to order against the newly awarded GSA wireless BPA. The agency added, however, that "ideally, ICE intends to use the competitively awarded DHS BPA in the future."
NPPD/FPS, meanwhile, wants to spend $787,700 to continue service for some 2,500 cell phones, Blackberries, wireless cards, wireless lines and associated services for six months through Verizon. The original order, the NPPD/FPS filing states, was to have been awarded against the "new DHS-Wide wireless communications strategic sourcing award" that has been put on hold because of a protest.
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
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