Homeland bill would ease restrictions on emergency buys

The homeland security bill that the Huse passed last week includes provisions to streamline IT acquisition, Rep. Tom Davis said Nov. 18 at a Northern Virginia Technology Council conference.

The bill would remove some restrictions on competitive buys and set limits on simplifying procurement emergencies for agencies slated to become part of the new Homeland Security Department, the Virginia Republican said. Separate legislation could extend to all agencies emergency authorizations to simplify procurement, he said.

The bill, being considered this week by the Senate, also would amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to let agencies accept unsolicited proposals, he said. In addition, it would establish a Technology Assistance Team to act as a central clearinghouse for vendor information on terror-fighting technology.

Also speaking at the conference, Homeland Security Office CIO Steve Cooper said he hopes to see pilots funded this year for a governmentwide integrated network to link existing networks for information sharing.

Cooper said he hopes funding will be included in the still pending fiscal 2003 appropriations bills. He said he envisions short-term, three- to six-month pilots costing no more than $1 million each and connecting several layers of government users.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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