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How Top DHS Acquisition Leaders are Transforming Department Acquisition Processes

The homeland security landscape has undergone momentous changes in recent years, and to keep up with evolving threats, the Department of Homeland Security is continuously working to deploy today’s most advanced technologies. Developing and implementing these tools requires collaborating with industry partners, and DHS acquisition officials are leading efforts to adopt new technologies while strengthening relationships with the private sector.

For a deep dive into the intricacies of DHS acquisition initiatives, among other homeland security topics, the Potomac Officers Club will host its 2023 Homeland Security Summit, on Nov. 15. Paul Courtney, the department’s chief procurement officer, will kick off the event with a keynote address.

Later, three key DHS acquisition officials – Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chief Acquisition Executive David Patrick, Transportation Security Administration Assistant Administrator and Chief Procurement Officer Dina Thompson and TSA Assistant Administrator for Acquisition Program Management Mario Wilson – will weigh in on DHS acquisition priorities during a panel discussion. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear each individual’s insights in person! Click here to learn more, and click here to register to attend the event.

Each speaker plays an important role in modernizing DHS acquisition programs. Keep reading to learn more about how they are working to transform the way the department approaches acquisition.

Paul Courtney, DHS Chief Procurement Officer

In February, Courtney spoke at ExecutiveBiz’s Homeland Security Forum, where he highlighted the importance of partnerships in streamlining procurement processes. He said he is focused on four facets – empowerment, collaboration, innovation and procurement itself – to better the process for both public and private sector employees.

Courtney also aims to boost communication between players involved in the procurement process.

“We really want to have those conversations with the folks who own the requirements and hear it from them firsthand. We believe that we have learned best together, and that consistent industry engagement is a process,” he said.

David Patrick, CISA Chief Acquisition Executive

During the Potomac Officer Club’s 2023 Cyber Summit, Patrick said that CISA is a partner organization to industry and is focused on industry outreach and communication in its acquisition efforts.

“Particularly in our critical infrastructure area, we envision a stronger security ecosystem that prioritizes technology, product safety within tech companies, the corporate cyber responsibility with our nation’s CEOs and persistent collaboration with our partners to support our nation’s tech rich, cyber poor sectors,” he elaborated.

Part of its work to engage with outside partners includes workforce development initiatives. Patrick said the agency aims to build a “bigger, broader base of technology talent” that is more “effective at delivering education” to users.

Dina Thompson, TSA Assistant Administrator and Chief Procurement Officer

Thompson has been with TSA since December 2018, and in her current role, she advises TSA on issues related to procurement and other transaction agreements across the agency. Her work guides the creation of complex procurement strategies and implementation roadmaps while ensuring compliance with relevant policies, procedures, laws and directives.

She has extensive experience in government contracting, having previously spent nearly three decades as a contracting officer and procurement analyst in the U.S. Army.

Mario Wilson, TSA Assistant Administrator for Acquisition Program Management

In his role with TSA, Wilson oversees acquisitions for products and services with a total value of close to $1 billion annually. He manages over 16,000 security screening systems and related acquisition programs.

Prior to assuming his current position, Wilson served as deputy assistant administrator for acquisition program management, and earlier, he was director of the agency’s checkpoint solutions and integration division. While holding this role, managed the Passenger Screening Program and directed the Security Technology Integrated Program, projects in which he supervised the development, procurement and deployment of checkpoint security systems.

For full speaker bios and more information on the 2023 Homeland Security Summit, please visit the event page.

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