EAGLE IIContractors Gear Up for EAGLE II Competition
By Steve LeSueur
When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intention to create the first EAGLE contract, Kadix Systems officials immediately began preparing to compete for a spot on the agency-wide vehicle for IT services. Founded in 2001, Kadix specializes in organizational transformation, IT, and program management solutions – capabilities that a newly formed organization such as DHS would greatly need.
“We viewed DHS as a game-changing opportunity for Kadix. As a new department, it had fewer barriers to entry and fewer established players,” said Chuck Schefer, current president of the then-small business. “We saw EAGLE as the vehicle that would drive the agency’s IT spending, and so we viewed it as a must-win for us.”
Kadix won a spot on EAGLE and became one of its most successful small businesses as measured by revenue generation, garnering about $80 million thus far. In fact, the company won the majority of its task orders through unrestricted competitions with larger businesses. The company was purchased by Dynamics Research Corp. (DRC) in 2008, and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the company. Kadix intends to compete aggressively for the EAGLE II Unrestricted contract as a DRC company.
“We continue to see good growth opportunities in DHS, and want to continue supporting the agency,” Schefer said. “EAGLE II is probably even more of a must-win for us than EAGLE I.”
Kadix’s experience illustrates why so many companies are eager to be part of EAGLE II. Altogether, DHS components have issued more than 400 EAGLE task orders worth $8.2 billion – about 25 percent of the agency’s spending on IT services. And those numbers are expected to grow. As a result, the level of interest among contractors in EAGLE II is much higher than in EAGLE I, say program officials, who report that 1,751 industry representatives crowded into the EAGLE II pre-solicitation conferences to gain insight into the contract and bidding process. Many companies are expected to compete as teams rather than individual companies in order to improve their chances of success.
“EAGLE is the premier IDIQ contract vehicle for DHS,” said Paul Bize, vice president of sales for homeland security and intelligence business for HP Enterprise Services, which has generated more than $1 billion in EAGLE task orders. HP Enterprise Services, which originally won a spot on EAGLE as EDS before its acquisition by HP, will compete for EAGLE II. “Vendors who are not contract holders lose out on supporting the majority of DHS initiatives,” Bize said.
Another company, defense giant General Dynamics, also recognizes EAGLE’s importance. When EAGLE I was competed, the company already was performing a significant amount of work for DHS components, such as the Coast Guard, headquarters and intelligence organizations. But with some DHS officials saying they eventually wanted up to 80 percent of the agency’s IT services spending to pass through EAGLE, General Dynamics’ officials wanted to make sure they hung onto their business. “We expected that a lot of our work would migrate to EAGLE and we wanted to continue to compete on those programs,” said Hank Di Nunzio, the company’s EAGLE Program Manager. Although EAGLE did not absorb 80 percent of DHS’s IT services, a lot of General Dynamics’ work migrated quickly to EAGLE. And thanks to winning a spot on the contract, the company retained its work. In fact, the company has won nearly $700 million in EAGLE task orders.
“The program office and the procurement office have really been focused toward continuous improvement in the use of the vehicle,” said Tony Sacco, EAGLE Program Manager for SAIC, which has won more than $560 million through EAGLE. Over time, their efforts to educate and work with DHS components have led to “widespread acceptance of the EAGLE program over all the agencies within DHS,” he said.
SAIC, General Dynamics, HP, Kadix, and other incumbents bidding on EAGLE II will be joined by scores of new companies vying for a spot on the follow-on contract. The fact that nine of the top 10 IT contractors at DHS are EAGLE contractors underscores the contract’s importance to industry hopefuls. “Clearly, EAGLE has shown to be the preferred mechanism within DHS for procuring IT services. If contractors have an ambition of doing a meaningful amount of business in DHS, it’s very important to win a spot on EAGLE II,” said Kevin Plexico, senior vice president of research and analysis services with INPUT.