Tim Hanes, senior manager of public sector advisory at Grant Thornton, and Marc Pearl, President & CEO, Homeland Security & Defense Business Council, discuss homeland security contracting, and why bid protests are impacting enterprise development.
National security contractors want to start a “national conversation” regarding the state of the enterprise. One criticism that contractors have is how bid protests are handled, and how it’s impacting the interaction between government and industry. Tim Hanes, senior manager of public sector advisory at Grant Thornton, says that bid protests can’t be the only time issues are raised about contracts. “We’re seeing more [substantive] engagement from the government. We want to see that continue, obviously, and get more substantive earlier on in the conversation… so we don’t get too far down the road where the solicitation is so narrow that it’s problematic,” Hanes said. “On the industry side, what we heard in the report this year is that government wants to see more activity where industry is driving the narrative and they are raising the flag. When we see problems, don’t just be passive and wait for the government or wait for the award then protest. We want to see that happening early on.” Marc Pearl, President & CEO, Homeland Security & Defense Business Council, says that the current system works, but could be greatly improved. “The whole nature of what the bid protest system does, it is very well written, it can be followed in the FAR, we are not advocating a change in the FAR or a change in legislation. What we are advocating for is greater information, earlier in the engagement throughout the process that will benefit both industry and government. And make the homeland security enterprise something meaningful and to achieve its success,” Pearl said.