DHS Championing Innovation in Silicon Valley
January 7, 2016 Leave a comment
by Tomas O’Keefe, Consultant
Last spring, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) opened up its Silicon Valley Office (SVO) under the Directorate for Science and Technology (S&T), having high hopes of better engaging with technology innovators in Silicon Valley. DHS wants to build bridges with the startup community so that new technologies — particularly cybersecurity technologies — can be readily identified and selected to help defend public and private networks.
The office uses innovative contracting methods that speed up the acquisition process, involving Broad Agency Announcements and leveraging short-term technology contracts to get the latest and greatest tools in the hands of federal cybersecurity professionals.
Here are couple nuggets on what all this means for those of us in the more traditional supplier community:
- DHS’s interest in Silicon Valley shows that the government has methods of getting their hands on certain technology products quicker than in the normal acquisition process (albeit with smaller-sized deals more focused on research and development).
- Technology vendors need to pay more attention to the developments coming out of Silicon Valley — especially the types of projects that the SVO and S&T are awarding. By looking at the type of work being done under these small research awards, technology vendors can begin to anticipate the needs of DHS — and the civilian government as a whole — and incorporate this messaging into discussions with cybersecurity leaders in government.
On top of more traditional cybersecurity tools, DHS will look for technologies that apply to the first responder community, aviation and drone security, and fighting biological threats. Paying attention to projects coming out of the SVO, S&T, and other DHS branches is a solid business strategy. Showing federal officials that you’re following the type of work their agency is engaged in will help you build trust and establish yourself as a trusted partner with government.
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