Industry Partnership Strengthens EAGLE Program

Industry Partnership Strengthens EAGLE Program

By Steve LeSueur

One of the chief successes of the EAGLE program has been its ability to forge a strong partnership with contractors to better serve the IT needs of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

To maintain communication with the 53 participating companies, EAGLE program officials hold quarterly EAGLE Alliance meetings that bring together the contractors with EAGLE and DHS officials, including chief information officers and contracting officers from the component agencies. They discuss forecasts, get feedback from vendors about agency plans, and provide recommendations to vendors to help with proposal preparation, reporting and other issues.

“It consists of a lot of open dialogue with both EAGLE officials and your industry peers on the contract vehicle, so we can share ideas trials and tribulations, and resolve things in an open forum,” said Paul Bize, vice president of sales for homeland security and intelligence business for HP Enterprise Services, formerly EDS before its acquisition by HP.  “These meetings provide a very good framework for both small and large businesses to work together to resolve issues.”

Contractors and DHS officials also have created Integrated Product Teams to address specific topics and problems, which, together with the EAGLE Alliance meetings, have helped industry gain insight into DHS plans for future IT projects. “The government brought in some of the chief information officers to talk about their vision for their components, where they were going, their major opportunities, and how they intended to use EAGLE,” said Hank Di Nunzio, General Dynamics’ EAGLE Program Manager.

The improved visibility into planned DHS procurements helps agency users as well as EAGLE contractors. “The government gets more competition and the contractors are more responsive to the agency’s needs” because they are better prepared, said Tony Sacco, SAIC’s EAGLE Program Manager.

In addition to the Alliance Meetings and IPT Groups, EAGLE contracting officials are available for informal discussions and ad hoc meetings. “We try to keep an open-door policy,” said Soraya Correa, director of the Office of Procurement Operations, which oversees the EAGLE program. Correa said the team of contracting officers that manages EAGLE is always available. Industry officials also can speak with Correa, her deputy, and Kevin Boshears, director of the DHS Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.  “I’ve had vendors come to me about issues and questions, such as how decisions were made or procurements were won. We can only make the program better if we listen to each other,” Correa said.

Industry officials agree. “The EAGLE office has done a very good job in communicating to the contract holders about activities and changes to the vehicle,” Bize said.

“The government has provided a great benefit by providing greater visibility into planned procurements and by providing a forum for industry to make suggestions for improving the operations of the contract,” Di Nunzio added.

For DHS components, the payoff is IT services and solutions that support their mission needs. “We’ve been able to come together as a team to improve our operations across the department,” Correa said.