Bid protests continue in delayed DHS biometrics contract

August 6, 2015 - 

In what has felt like a never-ending bidding process, hindered by multiple procurement delays, the Department of Homeland Security has finally awarded the $47 million professional contract for biometric support to BAE Systems, according to a report by Washington Technology.

In response, American Systems filed a bid protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on July 30.

In May of 2013, DHS first tried to award Ideal Innovations Inc. with the contract, which would have provided DHS and the U.S. Visit Program with support for biometric services such as fingerprint analysis, fingerprint processing, fingerprint search and card enrollment.

However, soon after Ideal was awarded the contract, BAE Systems and American Systems Corp. filed bid protests with the GAO over allegations that DHS’ evaluation was flawed.

These protests would delay any new developments in DHS’ biometric system until there was a resolution.

Now, two-and-a-half years later, the bidding process for the DHS contract has shown little progress as the protests eventually led the agency to re-evaluate the whole process and make a new best value decision.

This corrective action resulted in the GAO dismissing the protests without effectively ruling on their merit.

After DHS awarded the contract to Ideal for the second time, BAE and American Systems filed protests once again.

In April of this year, DHS once again withdrew the award to take yet another corrective action.

Both BAE and American Systems filed protests with the GAO in June, complaining the agency’s corrective action was not sufficient. Once again, DHS agreed to take further corrective action.

American System’s latest bid protest comes shortly DHS awarded the contract to BAE Systems.

It remains to be seen whether Ideal will file a protest after losing a contract that they successfully won twice.

GAO is expected to make a decision by November 9 if DHS is not forced to make a third corrective action.

Meanwhile, BAE and American Systems both have additional claims pending before GAO in which they have requested DHS to reimburse them for the costs endured for the protests they have previously filed.

Previously reported, the Department of Homeland Security’ Office of Biometric Identity Management is currently looking for off-the-shelf applications that can more effectively store, match and analyze biometric data.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.