DHS eyes outsourcing intelligence work

The Homeland Security Department might seek a private vendor to provide intelligence research and operations specialists for its Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

ICE's Headquarters Procurement Division has issued a presolicitation notice via the fedbizopps.gov vendor information system that it may run a competition for intelligence research specialists and intelligence operations specialists under the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76 process.

The outsourcing proposal would cover about 84 jobs.

ICE did not immediately respond to a request for more details and comment on the proposal.

OMB's Circular A-76 process lays out a method under which federal agencies are required to seek outside bids for work that is not inherently governmental.

The presolicitation notice said ICE expects to issue a solicitation on or before March 1, 2005. The agency expects to issue a firm fixed-price contract with task orders issued as required.

"This competition will be used to determine the best value between the commercial and/or government offerings," ICE said.

Almost all intelligence work has in the past been carried out by government employees. But contractors' sphere of operations in intelligence and warfighting has expanded in recent years.

Tens of thousands of federal contractors are providing an array of support services in Iraq. The trend has led to controversy in recent months. CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Va., and Titan Corp. of San Diego came under scrutiny after an Army report concluded that their employees either took part in or did not report the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib detention center.

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