Stimulus Strings Bring New Burdens to Acquisition Process
The American Recovery and Investment Act is infusing $2.7 billion in funds to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but that is both the good news and the bad news. Along with the stimulus money comes increased reporting demands and enhanced transparency requirements as well as an obligation to quickly pump the money into the economy. Distributing the funds must occur while ensuring quality contracting, good business practices and flawless spending. Not only will the agencies receiving the funds have additional administrative burdens, but industry will also have new reporting requirements in any contracts receiving these funds, related Richard Gunderson, acting chief procurement officer, DHS.
Fortunately, much of the money will be in support of existing programs, Gunderson allowed, and the ability to leverage off of current programs is critical to spending a lot of money in a short time and spending it well.
The Eagle Two contract also generated much conversation as part of a Procurement Executives panel convened at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference. Small business wondered if it would have to re-compete under the Eagle Two program, but Soraya Correa, director of the Office of Procurement Operations, DHS, said it is premature to answer that question.
Kevin Boshears, director, Office of Small Business and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, DHS, said that small business is the backbone of the country. When asked about the absense of the woman-owned small business classification in current contracts, he said that the program continues to be a government goal, but there are no current set asides. However, he added that he believes this year they will revisit the original legislation and carve out a strategy for the program.