DHS defends sole-source software buy
The department purchased risk-assessment software from SEMS Technologies
The Homeland Security Department has disclosed that it awarded a $782,000 sole-source contract to a Georgia software firm to update the risk-assessment software of rural water utilities.
Department officials said they need to update and add enhancements to the Security Emergency Management Systems (SEMS) Tool to make it compliant with risk-management strategies. The SEMS Tool currently is being used by about 25,000 rural water utilities.
Department officials published a “Justification & Approval” document
online on July 17 explaining why it chose to select SEMS Technologies LLC of Suwanee, Georgia to perform the work.
“SEMS Technologies LLC is the sole author and owner of the source code for the SEMS Tool. As the source code is proprietary software, the enhancements and upgrades can only be completed by the owner of the software,” the justification document states.
Under the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984, departments are required to justify contracts that are awarded without full and open competition. The DHS said it was complying with that requirement.
The award to SEMS Technologies is for $232,000 for 15 months, with four option periods totaling three years and nine months. The maximum value if all options are exercised is $782,000.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.