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Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

BEST Technology for the Homeland Act proposes extending DHS procurement tool for technology acquisition

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A bill introduced by U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Steve Daines (R-MT) recently proposed extending use of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) procurement tool to acquire leading-edge technology from private companies.

The Better Enabling Secure and Trustworthy (BEST) Technology for the Homeland Act (S.4024) honed in on the other transaction authority (OTA), which DHS uses to work with contractors new and old to acquire technologies deemed mission critical for everything from border security to aviation and supply chain security. It allows the creation of flexible agreements in place of traditional contracts, increasing commercialization opportunities and increasing collaboration between the two parties on financial and technical risks.

“As threats against our nation become increasingly complex, the federal government must ensure it has access to cutting-edge technologies to best protect our nation,” Peters said. “My bipartisan bill extends authorities for DHS to work with innovative companies to keep pace with global competitors and secure our nation from a wide range of evolving threats.”

That bill advanced out of the committee on which Peters serves as chair – the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee – last week. Now, it is headed to the full Senate for consideration.

Currently, OTA is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2024. This legislation would keep it going for three years, until fiscal year 2027. This follows a previous extension, granted in the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).