DHS releases first draft for $3.1B BioWatch program

Department expects three-way competition for final award

The Homeland Security Department has released a draft request for proposals for the first stage of its $3.1 billion BioWatch Gen-3 program.

DHS’ Office of Health Affairs is running the program to build an autonomous network of biodetectors to monitor the air for biological and chemical threats. The program began in 2003, and this will be the third generation of the system.

The current system operates outdoors, and is comprised of aerosol collectors and teams of support personnel. The goal now is to expand coverage to it, to cover 90 percent of the population in 50 jurisdictions, and increase indoor coverage to about 160 high risk facilities, according to the draft RFP.

DHS also wants to decrease detection time to four to six hours.

Because DHS wants to expand the scope and capabilities of the BioWatch program, the agency said it wants an autonomous biodetection system that integrates sample collection, preparation, analysis and reporting functions. The system needs to complete those tasks without human intervention.

DHS also expects the new system to lower costs, while reducing the amount of time to detect and alert authorities to the presence of a threat, the draft RFP states.

Comments on the draft RFP are due Feb. 11. The draft is for stage 1 of the procurement. Awards will be made to no more than three companies, who will then compete for the final spot to build the system.

According to Deltek, there is no incumbent for the BioWatch program, but the market research firm estimated its value to be $3.1 billion over five years.

DHS said it will hold an industry day, but no date has been set. The final RFP will be out in the third quarter of fiscal 2013, which ends June 30.

About the Author

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

Reader Comments

Mon, Jun 3, 2013

Nick, any news as to DHS's choice for BioWatch program. Any ideas to who will be in the running?

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