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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

After long road, new start for $200M DHS support contract

In a few months, it’ll mark two years since the Homeland Security Department tried to award a contract for support services for the field offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration bureau.

And there is still no award for the FOSS contract. In fact, DHS has started over from scratch and released a draft solicitation last month.

The $190 million contract went to a division of USIS in July 2014. That win sparked a protest by FCi Federal, the incumbent.

Their argument, which the Government Accountability Office agreed with, was that DHS didn’t fully consider legal and financial issues that USIS as a whole was experiencing. USIS’ background investigation business was going down the tubes thanks to an investigation into its practices and then a breach of its networks by hackers.

Eventually, the company sold the professional services division that won the DHS contract to PAE. The rest of the business was shuttered and USIS filed for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, the USIS business as part of PAE won the DHS contract a second time, and again FCi protested and, yes, again GAO sided with FCi. This time they said that DHS didn’t follow its recommendations from the first decision.

GAO told DHS to request revised proposals, conduct a new evaluation and make a new selection. They also were told to reimburse FCi.

That was in August. In October, DHS announced it was cancelling the procurement because its needs had changed; t didn’t need the same support in late 2015 that it did in 2013 when it began developing the FOSS contract.

Transformation efforts were replacing paper-based processes with online processes, and the number of field offices that need support dropped from 68 to 32.

Last month, DHS released a draft request for proposals, so it is a whole new ball game.

FCi has continued to support USCIS through extensions to its original contract. With the extensions, the ceiling has grown to $276 million. The extension now goes through Sept. 14, 2016.

A company spokeswoman said FCi plans to bid on the contract. No word from PAE, but I would expect they would compete for it.

Of course, this also opens up the competition to other bidders.

A big change from the contract FCi and PAE battled over is that the new contract is time and materials as opposed to fixed price.

The final RFP is expected later this month. Perhaps we’ll see an award by the end of 2016, but even in the unlikely event that there are no protests, we’re still looking at two and a half years between the first failed award and this one.

That’s a lot of time and a lot of wasted resources.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 04, 2016 at 9:28 AM

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