ACQUISITION

DHS puts focus on acquisition improvement

EDITOR's NOTE: This article originally appeared on FCW.com.

The Homeland Security Department will soon be launching a project to improve procurement, starting small but eventually encompassing "all of acquisition," according to Nicole Willis, a senior enterprise architect at DHS.

Willis was speaking to an audience at the 12th annual Enterprise Architecture Conference in Washington, D.C., about the department's collaborative architecture methodology. But when she was asked about the need for cross pollination of business, IT and procurement, she said that DHS is looking internally at its procurement processes -- and that's her next project.

"We're going to start a project to improve acquisition in general, but also IT acquisition specifically because we have a lot of challenges," Willis told FCW after her presentation.

Willis said she expects to start later this year or early next year. DHS is currently in the process of adding staff and is in the midst of "contract turn-over." Once the dust settles with that, Willis said, they will get moving.

"I've done some initial research, but I haven't really started it up. We're looking at all of acquisition, but IT will be one of the focus areas," Willis said.

An April a Government Accountability Office report found that budget uncertainty across DHS was hurting its acquisition shop. Program officials reported that funding instability negatively affected 17 of the 35 programs studied, contributing to schedule slips, cost growth and capability reductions, the report said.

GAO recommended that DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson better define the priorities of the agency so as to better allocate resources.

About the Author

Colby Hochmuth is a former staff writer for FCW.

Reader Comments

Thu, Oct 9, 2014

Many of us believe the career officials associated with DHS procurement policy for more than one year, as well as the uniformly poorly performing programs, should be fired as the first step in this effort. No study is needed. There is a trail of waste, tears, and some abuse and a soup├žon of fraud and apparent incompetence in so many DHS buys over the years. Time to change out the officials involved at the mid and top levels and to kick out the many contractors involved.

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