A major focus of the Homeland Security & Defense Business Council’s work involves our efforts to establish and strengthen relationships between government and the companies that comprise the Homeland Security Industrial Base – the leading large, mid-tier and small providers of homeland security product, technology, and service solutions. In addition to supporting DHS led programs that engage industry, the Council also leads complimentary efforts to improve communication and engagement in advance of and throughout the acquisition process. Our members develop and participate in initiatives that encourage the sharing of ideas and collective insights in small group settings on specific topics of mutual interest with senior leaders, program managers, contracting officers and SMEs across the Homeland Security Enterprise.
Examples of our outreach, programs, initiatives, and participation include:
- TSA Reverse Industry Day – The Council developed and led a Reverse Industry Day for approximately 50 contracting and program officials from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Experts from of our member companies participated in the all-day forum which included sessions on the following topics: Demystification of Industry; Preparing and Responding to Solicitations; Mock Gate Review: How Industry Decides to Bid (or Not); and The Value and Importance of Post Award Debriefings.
- DHS Reverse Industry Days (RID) – Council members have served as speakers and moderators at four (4) Department-wide Reverse Industry Day events sponsored by the DHS Management Directorate. These events provide acquisition and program personnel with a better understanding of industry practices related to identifying, tracking, pricing, bidding, winning, and performing on DHS contracts, as well as information on how government communication (or lack thereof) throughout the process impacts bid and solution decisions, competition, protests, and contract outcomes.
- We have also helped plan and are continuing to lead RIDs for IRS, DoD, and GSA.
- Market-Research Roundtable with DHS Intelligence & Analysis on Service Level Agreements – SMEs from Council member companies met with leaders from the DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis to discuss industry best practices and insights on drafting Service Level Agreements to achieve specific outcomes as part of DHS’ market research on improving the operations and maintenance of the TS/SCI IT environment used by all DHS intelligence components.
- Discussion with DHS S&T Responder Technology Alliance – Members provided industry insights to the S&T Responder Technology Alliance into how to influence, shape, and incentivize the first responder technology market so that the private sector is willing to develop the technologies and capabilities that are desired for the future.
- Cost Estimation Modeling and Schedule Management Discussion with DHS PARM – The Council worked with the DHS Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM) office to form a practitioner based work group made up of industry and government experts that reviewed and provided feedback on a draft version of standards for cost estimation modeling and schedule management across the Department.
- Framework for Government-Industry Engagement – We developed a Framework for Government–Industry Engagement through the Planning and Execution of the Acquisition Process that serves as a foundation for addressing communication challenges between government and industry. It breaks up the planning and execution of the acquisition process into four (4) stages and provides a high-level timeline and explanation of communication needs, the purpose and benefits of engagement, and suggested types of engagement through each of the stages.
- “Framework for Engagement” Workshops – The Council and DHS co-hosted a series of small working group sessions comprised of SMEs from industry and the DHS Directorates and Components to discuss in detail communication needs, challenges, and best practice examples throughout each of the four stages of an acquisition lifecycle:
- Business and Strategic Planning (co-hosted with ICE Deputy Director)
- Pre-Procurement (co-hosted with TSA Office of Acquisitions )
- Procurement (co-hosted with the DHS Management Directorate)
- Contract Execution (co-hosted with ICE Chief Acquisition Executive)
- Acquisition Communication Digital Binder – Building on the “Framework” workshops, the Council compiled a Digital Government–Industry Acquisition Communication Binder. The binder serves as a reference guide and compendium of tips and suggested best practices to improve communication between government and industry during specific types of engagement in the acquisition process; including RFIs, Industry Days, Contract Debriefings, Contract Kick-off Meetings, and Program Review Meetings.
- Industry Risk Management Seminar – The Council worked with the DHS Management Directorate to put together a half-day seminar before more than 50 DHS contracting officers, acquisition specialists, and program managers that explained how industry assesses and mitigates risk in the acquisition process. The seminar was an opportunity for government to better understand industry’s perspective of the acquisition process, as well as to understand how risk mitigation decisions impact the bidding process and resulting outcomes (in regards to cost, delivery, quality, competitiveness, effectiveness and efficiency).
- “Industry Perspective” Seminars for Program Manager Certification Courses – The Council provides speakers from our membership to lead discussions before Program Manager Level III certification courses at the Homeland Security Acquisition Institute about the importance of communication with industry throughout the different stages of the acquisition process. We have led similar discussions for other Directorates and Components.
- Mock Contract Debriefing Exercises – Council members participated as role players and observers in Mock Debriefing Exercises with DHS contracting officers. These exercises created a real world learning experience for DHS by allowing them to practice their debriefing skills in front of an industry audience. These exercises also helped DHS learn how to communicate the right information to industry during the debriefing process and help industry to understand the government’s perspective of the process.
- DHS Acquisition Innovation Roundtable (AIR) Discussions – Industry representatives and government experts participated in a series of separate AIR roundtable discussions that DHS hosted under the auspices of the Chief Procurement’s Acquisition Innovations in Motion (AIiM) initiative, which are designed to improve the manner in which DHS does business.
- The Suitability and Security Program AIR focused on identifying knowledge gaps from a DHS and industry perspective regarding the suitability and security vetting process, and potential ideas for further consideration by DHS that might improve the system.
- The Request for Information (RFI) AIR focused on identifying knowledge gaps related to the RFI process, understanding cost drivers, motivators, and the industry decision-making process, as well as the unintended consequences of specific communications or actions (or lack thereof) related to RFIs.
- The Industry Perspective AIR focused on identifying information on industry practices and decision-making that should be incorporated into training programs at the Homeland Security Acquisition Institute.
For more information, please contact Krista Sweet.