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Competition underway on $6 billion DHS cyber contract

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The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday released the first request for quote under its $6 billion continuous monitoring contract, according to industry sources.

The RFQ is for cyber tools and equipment, not services. The goal is to increase or extend software licenses that agencies already have in place, at a discounted price, said James Yeager, director of federal civilian sales at McAfee.  As of last month, 12 of the 17 vendors on the contract included McAfee products as part of their tool set available to agencies.

The RFQ will provide tools for 33 departments and agencies and range in value between $37.5 million and $60 million, Yeager said. One or multiple vendors will be selected based on lowest-price, technically acceptable bids.

Contractors have until Friday to submit questions about the RFQ. Responses are due Nov. 22, unless DHS is flooded with questions and opts to extend the deadline, Yeager said. An award is expected within 60 days.

“This task order is not where departments or agencies say ‘I have something, I don’t like it and I want to use something else,’” Yeager said. ”There’s not an option to say, ‘I don’t have anything that meets this requirement, let me tell you want I want.’”

All of the large civilian agencies have signed on to use the contract, which was awarded in August, John Streufert, director of DHS’ Federal Network Resilience division, said at a conference last month. The General Services Administration awarded the blanket purchase agreement on behalf of DHS.

“Our objective is to form up and choose those tools of best value and begin deploying them across some 120 of the largest dot-gov organizations,” Streufert said. He noted that the first proposals would be for commodities, but he expects task orders for services will follow soon after.

Subsequent task orders under the contract are expected in the first half of 2014, Yeager said.

While last month’s 16-day government shutdown delayed work, Streufert doesn’t expect it will impact the overall schedule of the five-year program. And it appears there isn’t too much concern about the program’s viability under the current continuing resolution.

DHS has already spent some of the program’s $185 million fiscal 2013 funds to develop the procurement, Streufert said in a separate interview.

Some agencies are looking to get a more competitive price for existing scanning tools, procure more software licenses or replace tools that didn’t function well in their IT environments, Streufert said.

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