California Governor Newsom orders procurement reform for faster wildfire response
Published: January 10, 2019
Acquisition ReformCALIFORNIAContracting TrendsEnvironment & Conservation ServicesFORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION, DEPARTMENT OF (CALIFORNIA)General Government ServicesGENERAL SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF (CALIFORNIA)GOVERNOR, OFFICE OF THE (CALIFORNIA)Information TechnologyInformation TechnologyInnovationJustice/Public Safety & Homeland SecurityNatural Resources/Environment
Governor Gavin Newsom has directed state government to update its technology contracting process to speed up responses to improve fighting wildfires.
On his first full day in office, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order instructing agencies seeking technology contracts to use a new kind of solicitation, called a request for innovative ideas (RFI2), in which the government asks respondents to design new solutions from scratch, rather than setting guidelines for vendors to meet. Initially, Newsom’s order will affect the Department of General Services and CalFire, but could eventually extend to all statewide agencies.
The RFI2 process begins with the interested agency defining a problem it hopes to address, rather than requesting a specific solution. This process will also allow the state and its partners, including vendor, academic, scientific, and entrepreneurial communities, to learn together and collaborate toward new, innovative solutions. The two agencies have not yet specified what fire-related problem they hope to address, however the order states that they hope to deploy new technology in the field this year, with a awarded deployments in 2020.
There were abundant technology issues during California’s 2018 wildfire season, which was one of the deadliest and most destructive on record. There were technology solutions developed and implemented to help combat fires, such as database to monitor the evacuation of hospitals and the use of drones to map firefighter movements. The State is also planning a conference in March to look at how technology solutions can better help combat wildfires.