Work with the Department of Homeland Security during the nearly month-long lapse in appropriations “is limited,” the department’s senior procurement official said on Thursday.
Responding to industry inquires since the shutdown began on Dec. 22, Soraya Correa said DHS is short on employees for working with industry.
“Given the lapse in funding, there are significant limitations as to the number of employees and the type of work that may continue to be performed in a lapse status,” Correa said in a “Dear Industry Partner” notice in the Jan. 17 FedBizOpps. She said her reply applies to DHS requests for information, proposals and quotations, and “other solicitations issued by DHS on or before December 21, 2018 for which an amendment has not been issued by the Contracting Officer to establish the schedule for submission of responses or offers base on the lapse in funding.”
This month the Transportation Security Administration halted its source selection of a contractor or contractors to supply next-generation scanners for travelers’ carry-on bags at airport checkpoints and the Coast Guard has to delay efforts to award a contract for new heavy polar icebreakers due to the lapse in funding in fiscal year 2019. TSA actually has money in previous year’s budget to kick-start procurement of computed tomography systems for the checkpoint while Congress still hasn’t decided whether to provide icebreaker construction funds in the FY ’19 spending bill.
DHS notices on the government’s procurement opportunities site, FedBizOpps.gov, have slowed to a trickle in the past few weeks. Notices from TSA and Customs and Border Protection have been rarer.
Contracting and procurement at several DHS agencies—the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Federal Protective Service—are exempt from the Jan. 17 note, she said.
For outstanding RFIs, RFPs and RFQs, Correa provided guidance on the timing of industry responses if the shutdown isn’t over before the published response dates in the requests. For RFIs, and request for comments on draft RFPs and other documents, responses are due within three business days of the resumption of DHS funding.
Responses to RFPs and RFQs are due within five business days following the resumption of business operations.