The Department of Homeland Security is prioritizing closer collaboration with industry, according to the agency’s Chief Procurement Officer Paul Courtney.
During the Potomac Officers Club’s 2023 Homeland Security Summit on Wednesday, Courtney said he was holding an internal meeting with requirement owners and program managers across DHS to make clear that they can and should “talk to industry” as long as it’s not in regards to an active procurement.
“Somebody along the way learned that, hey, you can’t talk to industry unless a contract officer’s in the room. That is so not true. So we’re making sure people understand the rules of the road, what they can and can’t do,” Courtney said during his opening keynote address.
DHS has been working to increase its partnership with small businesses in recent years. Courtney noted that of the department’s approximately $26 billion spent through contract awards in fiscal year 2023, about $10 billion went to small businesses. Now, DHS is working to increase its work with small disadvantaged businesses, or SDBs, from five percent to 15 percent between now and 2025.
“Matchmaking” events are part of the agency’s increased focus on small business partnerships, according to Courtney. Courtney noted that DHS is hosting a matchmaking event in the near future, and the department believes these events will help bring up their small business numbers.
“The last fiscal year, we started a new thing where we asked our large business partners to come in and meet with small business companies and help do matchmaking that way,” he explained. “We help bring the companies that are doing business with the department together with small businesses that want to do business with the department.”
Courtney also highlighted a number of upcoming contract opportunities with DHS and its component, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. One larger multiple award CISA contract with an estimated ceiling of $500 million will support threat hunting, joint cyber defense collaborative and vulnerability management for the agency’s cybersecurity division.
Learn more about the initiatives and opportunities driving homeland security and defense missions — join the Potomac Officers Club’s 10th Annual Defense R&D Summit on Jan. 31 to hear from Pentagon leaders, industry experts and military officials on the efforts driving defense technology innovation. Register here.