Earlier this month the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wouldn’t respond to media requests about progress on plans for a wall along the US-Mexico border. But by mid-day Friday, the flag was dropped on FedBizOpps.Gov. FedBizzOpps posted presolicitation notice 2017-JC-RT-0001 on behalf of the DHS. DHS intends to release the electronic solicitation Monday, March 6.


DHS intends to proceed with this tremendous challenge in two lightning-round-like phases, a concept phase and a final down select phase. Phase I itself consists of two quick steps. The first step of Phase I is the concept phase, and contractors wishing to join the competition have to be fast with their pens and programs. Given the complexity of the project, it cannot be easy surviving this first step that only requires design and submission of a formal concept paper of prototypes.

Then, in order to get to Phase II, competitors have to survive what promises to be a brutal evaluation of offers and a first down select, the second step of Phase I. For contractors moving to Phase II, there will be little time to waste. Phase II of the process will “will require the down select of phase 1 offerors to submit proposals in response to the full RFP.” So design experts have to quickly turn concepts of prototypes into successful packages for the follow-on formal Request For Proposals estimating costs just a few days later.

SPEED RFPs and Speed Deliveries

How fast? Real Fast. The competition to build the wall probably isn’t gauged for the smaller contracting offices who don’t have teams of technicians to commit to this one, long-shot challenge. Or, it will inspire them to rise to the occasion. Last Friday’s announcement marked the dead start. On March 6, FedBizzOpps will publish the official solicitation notice. Just four days later, by March, 10, contracting competitors must submit persuasive prototype concepts. Ten days later, March 20, DHS will announce agencies that survived the first down select. And those competing contracting organizations will have only four days—that’s right, only 4 days—to provide “response to the full RFP . . . which will include price.”


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Ed Ledford enjoys the most challenging, complex, and high stakes communications requirements. His portfolio includes everything from policy and strategy to poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., and retired Army Aviator, Ed’s currently writing speeches in D.C. and working other writing projects from his office in Rockville, MD. He loves baseball and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring anything. Follow Ed on Twitter @ECLedford.