Let the sunshine in

Nick Wakeman

The Homeland Security Department awarded the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge (EAGLE) solutions contract with great fanfare last year. The program has a lot going for it ? a ceiling of $42 billion and a lineup of some of the largest contractors in the business.

But until recently, it hasn't had a lot of business. That's changing, as staff writer Alice Lipowicz explains in this issue's cover story. The number and size of EAGLE task orders are growing.

But EAGLE still needs something else: Transparency.

As a multiple-award contract, EAGLE has gone through one round of full-and-open competition, which leaves the winners to battle one another for work. But the result is limited visibility and public disclosure of upcoming task orders.

DHS officials told Lipowicz they want to increase disclosure, particularly for large tasks. The department has posted on its Web site general descriptions of proposed work, and it recently published the request for proposals for the Information Technology Networking Operations Virtual Alliance, which could be worth $600 million over five years.

But why limit it to large task orders? Why not increase disclosure for all of them?
I raise those questions not just because I'm a journalist and more information about task orders would make great fodder for stories. There are more compelling reasons.

By watching the flow of task orders, we could better understand how DHS is operating and whether it is making progress toward integrating its various components. Disclosure also would give non-EAGLE winners, particularly small businesses with emerging technologies, an opportunity to target partners for particular tasks.

And last but not least, disclosure is just the right thing to do.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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