The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this month canceled a solicitation for a financial management system that it had awarded to CACI International [CACI] last fall, an award that was overturned by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in March.

CACI’s win of the potential $450 million contract under the Transformation and Systems Consolidation (TASC) Program was protested by Global Computer Enterprises, Inc., whose protest was sustained, and Savantage Financial Services, Inc., whose protest was dismissed.

The TASC program was the latest in a tortured effort by DHS to establish a department wide financial management system that consolidates the disparate systems belonging to the various components and agencies brought together in 2003 to create the department. DHS awarded BearingPoint [BE] a contract in 2004 under the eMerge2 program to help with the financial management consolidation but that award was terminated a year later when the requirements became unmanageable.

After eMerge2 DHS tried a short-lived effort at financial management consolidation using its EAGLE information technology contract vehicle before issued a Request for Information in 2008 to help restart the effort under the TASC program.

Despite the tough going, DHS won’t give up.

“Based upon a review and reevaluation of the solicitation, DHS is considering alternatives to meet revised requirements,” the department says. “The modernization of the department’s financial, acquisition and asset systems remains a key priority for DHS.”

In upholding the protest on the TASC contract, GAO recommended that DHS reevaluate its requirements related to the estimated pace and scope of work as well as for an integrated solution that is already operational in the federal government. After a review by DHS, the department concluded that requirements for the financial consolidation have changed for data center hosting, scope and pace of migrations, and an integrated solution already in use by the government.

Going forward, housing the data center is no longer a requirement as the Office of Management and Budget requires that cloud-based and service provider solutions be evaluated first as long as a secure, reliable and cost-effective option exists. DHS’ security architecture currently support external services as a part of a trusted environment, meaning cloud-based solutions could work for the department.

DHS is also no longer seeking a department-wide solution through a single acquisition and will focus on the most critical need components that need to be modernized, specifically the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Coast Guard, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.