DHS Builds Industry Engagement Mechanisms for COVID-19 Response

Published: April 06, 2020

Federal Market AnalysisCoronavirus (COVID-19) PandemicFEMADHSPolicy and Legislation

The Homeland Security Department has taken multiple steps to engage, inform and sustain its industry support during the federal coronavirus response.

Key Takeaways:

  • DHS has established a specific procurement team to support and streamline acquisitions in support of COVID-19 related efforts. The DHS Industry Liaison Program is the designated avenue for firms to engage DHS and have their offers triaged and processed.
  • FEMA’s new Supply Chain Sustainability Task Force is working to identify and acquire critical priorities and sustain production capacity.
  • New screening processes are in place at DHS facilities that may impact contracted personnel.

New DHS Procurement Team

DHS has established a one-stop intake mechanism to funnel all incoming offers for coronavirus response assistance, called the COVID-19 Procurement & Acquisition Innovation Response (PAIR) Team. In a recent statement to the DHS Contractor Community DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa announced the establishment of the COVID-19 PAIR Team to provide “support to FEMA and our other DHS Components, in the review, vetting and coordination of incoming COVID-19 related inquiries, particularly those that offer new and innovative ideas and solutions.”

Designated Contact Point for Industry

Companies are instructed to direct all inquiries and capability offerings to DHS’s public facing mailbox at the DHS Industry Liaison Program page. Correa says messages are being monitored constantly for review and immediate referred to the appropriate teams who can most quickly respond and utilize the information. This may include referral to my Strategic Sourcing Program Office for validation and tracking of sources of critically needed supplies, or, to the PAIR Team.

New Supply Chain Task Force

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have created a Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force under the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) to help close the demand/supply gap for key response priorities, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other critical needs. FEMA released a Fact Sheet describing the task force’s four-pronged approach to securing needed supplies and increasing the availability of critical resources in the COVID-19 response.

Screening Processes at DHS Facilities

DHS recently released information for their contractor community notifying them of additional screening processes for accessing DHS facilities and other guidance. In that notification DHS stated that “in the event a contractor or subcontractor employee is denied entry, it is requested that the company notify the appropriate Contracting Officer, or Contracting Officer's Representative. If contract performance is anticipated to be affected due to the COVID-19 situation, please discuss the situation directly with the Contracting Officer immediately.”

DHS has also posted a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page which they are updating to address a broad range of questions relevant to a broad audience.