Competition under the Homeland Security Department’s $6 billion cyber contract will be especially fierce over the coming months, with fewer than expected awards for continuous monitoring products and services.
Rather than selecting multiple winners for its upcoming string of task orders, DHS is expected to make single awards. The next six task orders will cover products and services needs for multiple agencies, which will mean big business for the winning vendors.
“We were all somewhat surprised there would be single awards, based on size and complexity and lumping multiple agencies in” a single task order, said Matt Brown, vice president for homeland security and cyber solutions at KCG. The products and services will vary by department, and the time needed to integrate the solutions will not be an insignificant amount of work, Brown said.
KCG was one of four winning vendors under the first task order for DHS’ Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation contract. HP, Northrop Grumman and Technica were the others, with HP winning more than half of the combined $60 million task order.
This first task order was awarded in January for agencies to buy more quantities of technology or software licenses they already owned, which could bode well for companies like KCG in the coming months. Some agencies have a large investment already in the technologies KCG is offers, and may be inclined to continue building on that suite of products.
In March, DHS awarded a $47 million contract to Metrica Team Venture to design and implement a federal-level dashboard that will provide summary data on network security across civilian agencies. Vendors will have to ensure their products can integrate with the dashboard and feed security data to DHS.
The next solicitation for tools and services is due out in May, said Patrick Howard, program manager for the Kratos CDM program. Kratos is one of 17 vendors on the CDM contract. DHS wants vendors to map their capabilities to the specific needs of agencies grouped in the same task order.
Agencies will establish reading rooms where vendors can view additional material not included in the solicitation, Howard said. These physical rooms will be set up at each agency, but it isn’t clear when they will be created, how DHS and the General Services Administration will control access to the rooms, how much time will be allotted to review details and whether it will be helpful.
“It’s a transformational program,” said Brown with KCG. “With any large transformation effort within the federal government, those things don’t happen overnight.”