Should ICE Use GSA Schedules for Agile Development or Go Its Own Way?

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The immigration enforcement agency is asking industry for advice on using existing contracts or building its own agile development vehicle.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say the agency has been doing well adopting agile development practices and wants to keep that going once its current suite of contracts expire. The big question: Should ICE follow Homeland Security Department headquarters in looking to preestablished contracts through the General Services Administration or build its own vehicle?

ICE has been contracting for its agile development needs with vendors off of Homeland Security’s Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading-Edge Solutions, or EAGLE II. When that vehicle expires in 2020, ICE will need a new pool of vendors.

In December, DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa announced the third iteration of EAGLE, dubbed EAGLE Next Gen, will be more of a strategy than a contract. Correa told Homeland Security components once EAGLE II expires, the agency will push offices toward using six governmentwide acquisition contracts, or GWACS: GSA’s Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 Small Business, 8(a) STARS II and VETS 2, and the National Institutes of Health’s CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP3 Small Business.

However, Correa also left additional options open, including specific contracts for unique mission areas.

“As requirements evolve for specialized IT services, the department will develop acquisition strategies tailored specifically to each distinct procurement,” a spokesperson for Correa’s office told Nextgov in December.

For its agile development needs, ICE procurement officials are seriously considering using GSA Schedules through a blanket purchase agreement but want to assess all the alternatives, according to a request for information posted on FedBizOpps.

“ICE desires an innovative software development culture where field operators can realize new ideas and have them quickly implemented in a matter of weeks,” according to the RFI, which notes that any tools or services integrated into the agency’s operations also has to be interoperable with law enforcement partners.

“Making improvements to ICE’s agile efforts would be accomplished through the adoption of cloud-based hosting and DevSecOps tools,” procurement officials wrote. “ICE also seeks to leverage a business-centric approach to system design, minimizing duplicative tasks, leveraging common functionality, and reducing the complexity associated with systems maintenance.”

That will be accomplished across four high-level functional areas: development of new applications, operations and maintenance support, DevSecOps engineering support and quality assurance and quality control.

Vendors interested in weighing in on ICE’s procurement strategy are asked to submit a white paper by 9 a.m. March 7. Questions on the RFI are due by 10 a.m. Wednesday.