CONTRACTS

DHS contracts steady despite CIO departure

NOTE: This article first appeared on FCW.com.

Technology procurement at the Department of Homeland Security remains on steady ground despite the departure of CIO John Zangardi earlier this month for an industry job.

"We're going to miss Dr. Zangardi, but the next CIO will come in," said Soraya Correa, the chief acquisition officer at DHS, said on the sidelines of an industry event hosted by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management. "What I've seen is that CIOs are pretty much aligned with things like cloud and the strategies we're trying to implement."

Correa added: "Leadership changes are going to happen. That's the nature of government. The question is: do goals and strategies still align. Dr. Zangardi and his staff knew where we were trying to go. He brought his deputy in, and we started working those strategies."

DHS Deputy CIO, Beth Cappello, is expected to move into the acting CIO post.

On the procurement front, DHS has yet to issue its solicitation for the General Services Administration's $50 billion, 15-year, next-generation telecommunications contract.

Plans for that contract continue, said Correa. She said DHS is still engaging with GSA, the Office of Management and Budget and the agency's own workforce.

DHS has large component agencies with nationwide footprints including Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Correa said the question remains how to manage telecommunications contracts among such large customers with diverse missions.

"One of the things that happens is that we have all the [component] CIOs we have to work with. They're all dealing with different mission sets. Sometimes they have very different problems and needs. When you're trying to build solutions to support them, you have to weigh whether you're going to one big vehicle, five vehicles or three. That takes times to think through."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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