S&T Insights Outreach: Engaging with DHS and S&T Liaisons

S&T Insights Outreach: Engaging with DHS and S&T Liaisons

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[music playing] [On Screen Text] At S&T Industry Partnerships We engage innovators to invent cutting-edge technology. We advance the pace of development of innovative solutions and the commercial market. S&T's Office of Industry Partnerships OIP has the programs and tools to work with you. Connect, Innovate, Partner, Commercialize, Deliver this month on Insight Outreach. Engage with DHS and S&T industry liaisons. [Music Ends] Connie: All right, well, hello everyone, and thank you for joining us today for the webinar. From the poll we had up on screen just a minute ago, it looks like we had attendees from around the country, and even a few people internationally.

So, thank you, everyone, for joining us today for the second webinar in the Insights Outreach series, hosted by the DHS Science and Technology Office of Industry Partnerships. In this series, we want to help you navigate S&T's partnership opportunities, understand DHS mission needs, and identify paths to funding to get the best Homeland Security solutions to market faster. We invite you to join us every--the first Tuesday of every month for the webinar series, and you can find a list of upcoming webinars on our DHS S&T events page, which will be updated regularly. Just a few housekeeping items.

If you have any questions or comments, please be sure to put them in the Q&A chat box, and today you will be hearing from three industry liaisons supporting the Department of Homeland Security, who will discuss the resources available to help you partner with DHS. With that, I will introduce Dee Parker, the DHS S&T industry liaison. Dee, take it away.

Dee Parker: Well, hello and thank you Connie, for that wonderful introduction. I wanted to let everyone know you're gonna be in for a great treat today. So, we have two DHS industry liaisons, Ms. Eldridge from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Mr. Rick Gunderson from Customs and Border Protection. So, let's go ahead and get started.

Thank you, guys, for joining today. So let's talk about what an industry liaison really is all about in our core functions. So, we are the central point of contact with industry. The entry point for industry.

So, we're the gatekeepers. So, we're the ones that can get you right into our DHS component, so that way you can learn about our component mission and requirements. We foster relationships. Well, we know right now we're not able to really get together in the room with one another. We really miss those days where we can go to events and really talk to industry and our external stakeholders and what's really going on in our DHS components, and what mission needs we need. Well, we're doing everything virtually, we had to change things around a bit, but we seem to be really navigating this in a great way.

So, we're here to work with vendors and associations that seek to do business with the department, and to link suppliers with component stakeholders, and then facilitate ongoing communication. Communication is key not only with our external stakeholders but amongst the DHS industry liaisons. We have to make sure that we stay in touch with one another, we know what's going on in those different components, and we share information and feedback with one another. We just wanna make sure all the lines of ongoing communication is open to our external stakeholders, it's transparency with efficiency, and we wanna make sure that we're all on the same page. A list of the DHS industry liaisons can be found below, as you can see in this link. But what we're gonna do when we get into the demo portion of this webinar, I will show you exactly where you can find all of us.

It's a great resource. So, let me just take you back just a little bit. I just wanna step back just a bit, because I want you to understand what and where a DHS liaison has come from. So first, we have to go to the DHS headquarters, Office of the Chief Procurement Officers industry liaisons.

In our chain of command, the headquarter IL's and that office are considered the mothership, so to speak, the primary vessel here. And the DHS component industry liaisons are the daughters, or the smaller ships of that industry liaison hierarchy. So, OCPO launched the Acquisition Innovations in Motion program, the acronym for that is AIM, back in 2015.

The goals of the AIM program are to shorten the time toward contracts, increase the probability of successful outcomes, and create opportunities for non-traditional vendors to compete with DHS business. The AIM program includes four main activities: the Strategic Industry Conversation, Reverse Industry day and Micro-reverse Industry Day, and the Acquisition Innovation Roundtable. And actually, a lot of our industry liaisons have participated in many of these, or not all of these events at the headquarters level.

And not only that, those events bring on hundreds of external stakeholders, and it's a great way for all of us to understand what's going on with one another and with our external stakeholders. And the fourth is the Procurement Innovation Lab, which is called the PIL, which is executed by a separate OCPO division. So, as I said before, their office has this list of all DHS industry liaisons, with FEMA, CBP, those are the two industry liaisons we have today, CWMD, SISA, TSA, the list goes on. And so, this is a great resource that we have, because we can connect external stakeholders with any component to get prompt responses and have them discuss their technologies with subject matter experts.

So, I just wanna get into a little bit of what's the similarities and the differences between S&T, FEMA, and CBP, as well as just industry liaisons as a whole? So, what I wanna do first, I wanna give you some quick background on me as an industry liaison with the Science and Technology Directorate. So, so you understand, S&T is a research, development, test, and evaluation arm of the Department of Homeland Security. And it is our job to ensure the department has solutions of today and tomorrow to secure our nation. S&T has many ways to work with industry on critical technology areas to include paths geared toward startups and small companies, as well as more traditional mechanisms. Now, we talked about this in great detail at our February 2 Insights Outreach Webinar, where my director went through each and every one of those funding opportunity tools.

So, I won't get into that right now, but when we go into our demo portion of the webinar, I will show you exactly how to get more information on those funding opportunities and where you can go and click and sign up to see and learn more about those funding opportunities. But if you want to really get in contact and know exactly what S&T needs as an industry liaison, what I'm looking for, there are three things. So, if there's a direct applicability to current R&D needs, I would need the following to connect you to the appropriate S&T representatives. So, number one, what would I need from you? A brief description of your capability or technology, and its intended applications for Homeland Security. Number two, the current technology readiness level, the TRL, and the manufacturing readiness level, the MRL of the technology.

Any information that demonstrates the uniqueness and value of the capability to DHS. So, those are the three things I need. And what you can do, you can send them directly to the S&T innovation inbox, and I'm sure that information will be put into the chat, which is S&T.innovation@HQ.DHS.gov. Send me your capabilities sheet or your quad chart, even a paragraph. Just enough information with those three top things that I've told you, so at least those S&T program managers can review and see if that technology is great for us.

So, we're gonna go right on into it. So, Ms. Eldridge, our FEMA industry liaison, welcome again. Ms. Eldridge: Thank you for having me. Dee: Thank you, so explain your differences or similarities of your role as an industry liaison at FEMA.

Ms. Eldridge: Thank you so much, Ms. Parker, I appreciate the opportunity to join you all today. So, as you can see on the slide that's before you, there are some similarities, but there is a little bit of a difference. So, in FEMA, the industry liaison program, we serve as the single point of entry for suppliers who are interested in doing business with FEMA. We establish strategic relationships with suppliers and stakeholders.

We serve as an information provider for suppliers seeking to do business with FEMA, and we connect suppliers with our program offices in support of FEMA's mission. But one of the differences that helps us to stand out from some of the other industry liaison programs as a component of the department is, we have what we call the local business transition team, and what that is, is that is a component of the industry liaison program. And with the LBTT, what we do is, whenever there is a disaster, the LBTT, or the local business transition team, is deployed to the joint field office.

And what we do is, the LBTT works in connection or in conjunction with the industry liaison program and headquarters at FEMA. And the ILP helps to coordinate the flow of vendor increase, of how to do business with FEMA from headquarters to the LBTT. So, when vendors reach out to us, and they want to provide their capabilities, just as you stated about filling out a form, we have one called the FEMA vendor profile form. They can send that information in, and we can share that with those that are responding to the disaster in the LBTT or the local business transition team.

We also provide additional administrative and market research support as requested by the LBTT. So, sometimes in a disaster, some of those individuals may be looking for information, and they may be looking for suppliers or resources where they've exhausted all of their other market research capabilities, and they'll reach back out to us in headquarters, and say, "Hey, do you all have any suppliers or vendors that have reached out that have this capability?" And we can share that with them. Lastly, but not least, the LBTT provides updates and field statuses to the industry liaison program. So, what that means is whatever's happening in the joint field office, and what is happening on the ground, we may not have that information in real time in headquarters while we're supporting them, but they can report that information back to us. So, that's one of the difference that we provide from the industry liaison program at FEMA.

Thank you so much for asking. Dee: And so you know, I don't think people really understand how big FEMA is. But can you just tell our audience, you know, just how big FEMA really is and how many regions there are, so they can understand how much work you guys really do over there? Ms. Eldridge: Absolutely, thank you

again so much for asking. So, our workforce is approximately 20,000 employees within FEMA, and we do have ten regional offices. So, the work that we do is vast and great. When I first started working with FEMA, FEMA was a very small organization, and it's been many years now, and I'm grateful to still be with the organization to help push the mission forward.

But we have grown since hurricane Katrina, and it caused us to grow, and so we're grateful. So now, our workforce is approximately 20,000 plus, and we have ten regional offices in support of FEMA as a whole. Dee: Thank you so much, Ms. Eldridge. Ms. Eldridge: You're most welcome. Dee: So Rick, you're up. How are you doing today?

Rick Gunderson: Good morning, Dee, and thanks to S&T for asking CBP to be a part of this. So, as Dee mentioned, the importance of keeping an open dialogue with industry, that starts at the top of the DHS procurement community with the chief procurement officer. You know, one of Ms. Correa's priorities is that we're

promoting meaningful communications. And that means that, you know, throughout the process, whether we're early in the planning stage, getting ready to do the solicitation, and even afterwards, that we're keeping that dialog going with industry, so we can understand capabilities, you can understand mission and gaps. So, all those core functions that Dee lists on that slide, we perform at CBP. We have a small team called the Industry Partnership and Outreach Program, IPOP, which we perform industry liaison role as well as small business specialists roles. So, it's kind of a dual hat that we have at CBP.

And we basically are kind of that front door for CBP, as Dee described, where we can understand your capabilities, connect with program offices where we know the mission might have a match, not always, but again, it's important that we have that network and share information not just within CBP but across DHS through our Industry Liaison Counsel. Now, in addition to these core roles that we have, I also have the function of Procurement Ombudsman and Competition Advocate at CBP. And as the Procurement Ombudsman, I am that independent objective official that industry can come to with their concerns. Sometimes it might be a proposed strategy that CBP has to carry out an acquisition. Industry can reach out to me, express that concern, or it can even be post-award that, you know, we already have a contract in place with the vendor, the vendor doesn't feel that things are being treated fairly, so again, I'm a point of contact that can be reached and understand what that concern is, and then I can engage with the appropriate stakeholders and hopefully reach a good resolution for all.

So, yes we perform the functions described there, but we also have a couple of other things under our umbrella. Dee: And I know that CBP is, you know, you deal with so many different topics and issues. It's just a, you know, huge, huge, huge component.

But can you share with our audience maybe those top three things that you see a lot that maybe comes into your shared inbox, your external inbox? Rick: Yeah, from an acquisition portfolio, we do have a very diverse set of missions and hence--and you know, we spend about $5 billion a year in support of the different missions. You know, we basically have four different operators that are carrying out the mission. We have the Border Patrol, those are the green suits that work between the ports of entry; we have our Field Operations, the blue suits that you're gonna see if you're coming in through an official port of entry. Our Office of Air Marine who's supporting from above and in the waterways along with the Border Patrol in securing the borders. Then we also have the Office of Trade.

So, you know, our mission is not just securing the border, but we're also facilitating lawful trade and travel, so that's a key component of the CBP mission. So, as far as, you know, what we're buying, there's a lot of information technology, a lot of security technology that's deployed along the border. But we also have just general services that are supporting the day-to-day operation, and then the commodities that are keeping the lights on and keeping the boots moving. So, it's extremely diverse and, you know, we can share some of that information separately with some more details. But there's lots of opportunities out there and we're always looking for new partnerships.

Dee: Thank you so much, Rick. And I just wanted to let everyone know that we will have this webinar available and posted on our website, our Insights Outreach webpage. So, just in case anyone is wondering, it will be there and be posted. So, I think we have another poll that's coming up here. So, our second poll question.

I know how and where to engage with DHS about my technologies or services. Let's see if anyone knows how to get in contact with us. How to engage. Okay, so some answers are coming in. So, we have yes, a little too confusing, and just learning through the webinar. So, this is great.

So, this portion that's coming up is our demo portion, so you guys can take a look at our websites, how to get in contact with us, how to engage. We wanna make it really easy for you. So, we're gonna go first, I'm gonna go first, actually, and pull up S&T's site.

So, we're going to navigate through this. And so, this is gonna be great, because our Office of Industry Partnership's Communications team, they've worked really hard on our website to make it user friendly for you guys and to get right to the point. So, right here, as you can see, working with S&T, and if you go down just a little bit, you'll see that--look, new, work with S&T on more information on COVID-19 and how to work with us.

And look what you see, www.FEMA.gov. So, we work very closely with FEMA, so with Ms. Eldridge and those IL's. And then how to work with S&T. So, right here, this is new, our DHS industry outreach form.

So, this is a great thing right here. We just put this on our website within the last few days. And so, what it does, it allows external stakeholders to tell us about your technologies and receive news and updates from S&T about our opportunities. So, I think we actually got a few of these filled out forms directly to us over the last few days.

So, if you filled this form out right here, we will collect your information, and then we will send you updates and opportunities that S&T has. So, this is something new we have, and it's actually working out pretty well. So, I wanna go right into our S&T funding opportunities.

And so, this is what I actually talked about at our last February 2 Insights Outreach with my director of office of industry partnerships. So, it gives you a really in-depth look of all of our funding opportunities, whether it's the Long-range Broad Announce Agent, the Prize Competition, we have a Silicon Valley Innovation Program, our Small Business SBRR Program, the BIRD, I mean , everything is right here at your fingertips, and all you have to do is click on the link, and you'll get all the information you need. Not only that, it'll tell you if you're a small company or startup, if you're a medium-sized company, what would be the best fit for you and your company. And it's just easy as a click away. And then, a connection with these funding opportunities is our industry guide.

And so, you see as you go down to our resources, you click on S&T Industry Guide right here, and then you'll see everything you need right here. And so, it gives a thorough overview of S&T's R&D investment priorities and business opportunities, so it'll show you everything you need to know and the priorities that we are looking for here at DHS, and what technologies. And like I said before, even on our website, this will also tell you if your company is what's best for which tool, so it's a great resource. And I actually used it a lot when I was going out and about to events and the conferences. I mean, I had this guide in my back pocket, and everyone loved it. I mean, they just flew right off our tables here at S&T.

So, it's a great resource for everyone to use. And the next, which I promised to you, is our Office of the Chief Procurement Officers industry liaison list. So, it just gives you a quick overview of the AIM events that I talked about, and then if you click on our industry liaisons point of contacts, you'll see everyone is there, all of the DHS components. And they are a great resource, and they will get back to you if you respond to them to tell them about your technologies or any information you need when it comes to that DHS component. So, I hope this really helped you out so you can see all the wonderful things that S&T is doing in addition to our industry liaisons. So, up next we have Ms. Eldridge.

Can you please share your screen to show your FEMA website? Ms. Eldridge: Yes, I can, Ms. Parker, thank you so much. Give me one moment, I am trying to share my screen now. Dee: Okay, and so Ms. Eldridge, she will give you guys doing business with FEMA, an overview of their website, and she'll take about, you know, five to six minutes to give you an overview of what you should hone in on. Take it away.

Ms. Eldridge: Thank you so much, Ms. Parker, I appreciate it. So, here you see our website. So, at the top, here's the link to get to our website, or the URL. So, if you're on and outfacing page and you don't know how to find us, you can go to Google. Google is a very popular search engine, and you can type in www.FEMA.gov,

and then you would just look for "Doing business with FEMA," as you see me moving my mouse here. So, I'm gonna move right along. So, on our website, I'm gonna talk to you today very briefly about how to do business with FEMA in four steps.

So, as you can see, step number one, or the first one here on the website is talk to your local Association of Procurement Technical Assistant Centers. And that's the APTAC. Some people may know the APTAC as the P-TAC, or you may have heard the acronym P-TAC being used, but it's the same organization. The organization is a wonderful organization. They are a wealth of information.

They can help you and aid you with a lot of services when you're interested in doing business with the federal government. A lot of their services are free or can be offered for a very nominal fee. If you're new to doing business with government and you've never done business, and you wanna know how do I get started, what does that look like? They can help you register your business in the System for Award Management. They also offer training courses.

If you're a small business, medium business, large business, it really doesn't matter, but they can help you. But if you go to our webpage and you don't remember how to get there or remember their name, there's a link here that you see me kind of rubbing my mouse over. You can just click on that link and it will take you directly to their webpage. It will let you know that you are exiting a federal government entity and you're going to another website.

The second step is to register in the System for Award Management, which you may have heard some people refer to as SAM.gov. There may be some that are currently participating in this webinar today that may be registered, but there may be new companies that have never registered in the System for Award Management. So, in order to do business with the federal government, you have to be registered in the System for Award Management, which is SAM.gov. So, before you register in SAM, we recommend that you obtain your D-U-N-S number, and you would get that from Dun & Bradstreet, and again, if you don't remember, you can come to our page, and where you see me moving my mouse here, that's to the Dun & Bradstreet website, and you would just click there, and it would take you directly to their site. The next thing you would need to do is to obtain your tax identification number, and that tax identification number is issued through the, excuse me, Internal Revenue Service.

So, you would go to www.IRS.gov. However, if you don't remember their website, it's okay, it's right here on our page where you see me moving my mouse here, and you can just click there. And so, once you obtain your D-U-N-S number and your tax identification number, you'll be ready to register in the System for Award Management if you're new to registering.

One of the caveats that I wanna put in place for you today is that whenever you register in the System for Award Management, you wanna make sure that whatever information you've placed in the system for Dun & Bradstreet and the IRS is exactly the same in the System for Award Management. What happens in the System for Award Management, or SAM.gov, is your information is gonna go through a verification process. So, if you are, let's say for instance you're ABC Company, and so, when you register in Dun & Bradstreet to get your D-U-N-S number, you register as ABC Company. And then when you go to get your tax identification number, you register as ABC Company.

But then, when it comes to the System for Award Management, you say, "Ah, I forgot to put the LLC, so let me put ABC Company, LLC. Well, that can pose a bit of a problem because when they go to look for you, they're gonna be looking for the same exact name that your company is registered under. So, if it's not the same, it can stop the verification process or slow it down.

So, we just encourage suppliers and vendors to remember when you are registering your company in the System for Award Management, please make sure that your information is the same. The other thing that I wanna reference here is the Disaster Response Registry. And that Disaster Response Registry is housed in the System for Award Management. And what that does is, that allows contracting officers and/or specialists who are looking for companies during a disaster who have goods and services to be able to do some market research and search for those companies at a fingertip.

And so, if you're new to the system and you want your company to be visible on the Disaster Response Registry and you can click the link here, what you would do is, when you go into the System for Award Management, or SAM.gov to set up your registration, you wanna click the box to identify that your company--you want your company to be on that registry. But please note that your company will not be visible until your registration has been completed and is active. So, if you're still going through the registration process, you may not see your company yet, but when you receive notification that your company is active, your company should be viewable on the Disaster Response Registry. Now, there may be some on the line who have already registered in SAM and they're not sure if their company is there, or they may be interested in getting their company put on the list.

So what you can do is contact the Federal Service Desk, and they are the desk that supports the System for Award Management, and beta.SAM.gov, and their website is www.FSD.gov, and you can talk with someone either by phone or you can do a live chat, and they can tell you or walk you through what you would need to do to add your company to the registry if they're not there.

So I wanted to make sure that I referenced that, but again, that Disaster Response Registry is important, because our contracting officers and specialists do look at that list, and when they're looking for companies, they can identify you there. Number three, step number three is understanding FEMA's mission and goals. I'm not gonna go through this in its entirety because it's a lot of information, but here you can see FEMA's mission. So if you wanna learn more about FEMA's mission, you can click on this hyperlink here. But as you can see, and it says it right in front of you, FEMA's mission is to help people before, during, and after disasters, and that's the key here. We just want you to know that that is our mission, to help people before, during, and after disasters.

And if your company has goods and services that are useful in the situations described below, then you can proceed here. You'll see something that says the Emergency Support Functions, and you'll see it says those Emergency Support Functions, or ESF's, may be selectively activated for both Stafford Act and Non-Stafford Act incidents. So, what that in essence means is, we have our federal agencies, and each one of those federal agencies have a part to play, and they help to support us. So, with that being said, if you click on this list, and I won't click--I mean, the hyperlink, excuse me, and I won't click on it at this moment, but you can check it out at your leisure. You'll be able to see which agency is the lead agency, and what their function is. So it's very helpful to understand, you know, kind of who leads what, what effort during an emergency, so that as you're looking for opportunities, you'll understand which agency has the lead.

Also, you'll see here where you see my mouse moving, the State Emergency Management Agencies. And those are the places that you wanna get in contact with when you're looking to find out, let's say for instance a disaster happens and you wanna do business, however the state may not have requested assistance from the federal government. They may feel as though that they can handle the disaster themselves. But you don't know how to reach out to the state. How do you find out what their opportunities are? If you don't know how to reach them, you can come to our page here and click on this link, and it will give you the name of the State Emergency Management Agencies and how you can contact them.

And then, as a frame of reference here, you have the National Response Framework, and it's a guide on how the nation responds to all types of disasters and emergency. It's a good piece of resource information, and we encourage you to monitor that. And then, as you can see here, and I'm gonna be wrapping it up fairly quickly, you see the Top Commodities Procured for Disasters. These are not the only commodities, these are just some of those commodities. But these are some of those commodities that are procured during a disaster, some of those top things, those things that are needed in almost every disaster. However, if you're looking for any information, or you wanna request some information, you see this link here that talks about the FEMA Industry Liaison Program? You can put--you can send us a message and put this subject in here, and we can send you additional information that is relative to the koozie, and it will include information about some of these top commodities procured.

And then, step number four, Monitoring Contracting Opportunity Sites. And this one is very important. We get a lot of individuals who are looking for opportunities to do business with FEMA.

And as I said, we do have some of our federal partners, so we encourage you all to look at not just FEMA but our other federal partners. But the contracting opportunities are listed on the beta.SAM.gov website. All of those opportunities above $25,000, those are listed there. So we encourage you to monitor that website. You may wanna monitor that website on a daily basis several times a day because the needs could change hourly.

They could change daily. They could just be ever-evolving. If we're in the middle of a major disaster, things could be posted very quickly.

So we wanna encourage you to make sure you're monitoring this site. And then we have Unison Marketplace, and it's a fully-managed online marketplace, and that's where some of the smaller purchases are located, such as copiers, office supplies, printer paper, and things of that nature. So when you're looking, if your company, you can provide some of those resources, monitor Unison Marketplace as well.

And then we have the Department of Homeland Security Acquisition Planning Forecasting System. And that is a portal for small business vendors who want to view anticipated contract actions about $250,000. So as you can see, this is not our entire website, but these are some of the key points and those one, two, three, four, those are the four steps that we share with suppliers when they're interested in learning to do business with FEMA, but we have additional resources. There's also some information at the bottom that tells you if you're looking to let us know who you are and give us a snapshot, we have what we call the FEMA Vendor Profile Form.

And you can locate that information down here at the bottom. You'll see it says complete the Vendor Profile Form. You can click on that to access, and you would email it back to us at our contact information.

But that allows us to know your purpose for contacting FEMA if you're interested in potentially trying to request a meeting. We cannot guarantee meetings, but we can share that information, and we can send it to the program offices, but the meetings are at the discretion of our contracting staff and as appropriate. And so, if they feel the need or if there is a need or if they want to meet with you, they'll let us know and we'll get that scheduled.

So, I wanted to share that with you. Dee: That is awesome. That's an awesome thing. Ms. Eldridge: And we're gonna turn it back over to Ms. Parker now, thank you so much.

Dee: That is some great--I wanted to just say as you were talking, that is some awesome information that you are sharing, and I know industry is really happy about that. But we're gonna go straight to CBP. We're gonna pull up those slides, and Rick, take it away. Rick: Thanks, Dee, and great job, Ms. Eldridge. Yeah, there's some really good information there. I'm sure the audience we have today, there are some companies out there that are--have worked with government for a long time, but there's also others out there that are maybe trying to break in, and some good fundamental information there, and I would just encourage, if there are companies out there that are new to the government arena looking to find, you know, what's the best way to look for opportunities and things like that, later on in the presentation you'll see some email addresses, at least for CBP.

If you reach out to us, we can set up phone calls. Our specialists can walk you through different systems out there and how to search under certain NAICS Codes and other, you know, functions like that that you can hone in on where your best opportunities might be. So, if you go to the CBP.gov website, and you have to do a little searching. It's not--I guess if you type in the words "how to do business with CBP," it will get you there, but it's not that intuitive on the front page, unfortunately. But if you go there, you'll get these links, and these are kind of the standard links, and obviously we're a little outdated.

We're still showing FedBizOpps where we should be having the beta.SAM website up there. But you'll get redirected there. But there's also a couple other sub-links there that--for within CBP, if you're interested in submitting unsolicited proposals or wanna learn more about our small business program. I mean, those are the standard things where you can find information about upcoming opportunities.

Ms. Eldridge also mentioned the DHS APFS, the Acquisition Planning Forecast System. That's a good source of upcoming.

It's not always the most current, but we are trying to do better at that. A couple things that we are trying to do at CBP that are--that's a work in process, we've created a draft notable contract--or notable procurement spreadsheet. So this is supposed to identify what are those, what I call notable, or key upcoming procurements in the next 12 to 18 months that we wanna give a head's up to industry on. It's not gonna necessarily have all the plan strategies, some of those are still in development, but it's our hope that within the next month or so, we'll be able to post that either through our website or send it out through beta.SAM, so industry can have a list of maybe 25 to 30 notable upcoming procurements.

So that's one thing that we are working on. We're also in the planning stages of setting up a bi-monthly, every other month industry outreach, similar to what's going on here today. Also, some of you might be familiar with what USCIS is doing in that arena. But the idea is that we would pick a particular mission area, program area in CBP and try to have an hour session where we can share current state, maybe identify some gap areas, and again, start that dialog and maybe, you know, hopefully come up with some good solutions down the line. So as I mentioned before, you know, the portfolio that we have at CBP is very diverse. We do rely on a lot of commercial technologies, non-developmental, but that doesn't mean we aren't searching for some cutting-edge areas.

So if you'd please go to the next slide, I did want to highlight one of those offices that's kind of a key player at CBP. It's what's referred to as the Innovation Team, or as an acronym, INVNT. So this is another website that's available to provide some high-level information on what their focus areas are. Now, the innovation team was stood up about two years ago under the office of Commissioner, and they are basically charged with trying to find some new technologies that can enhance our capabilities, fill some gaps, and also do it in a way that we can get it done and fielded quickly.

So the Innovation Team, they have partnered with S&T through the Silicon Valley Innovation Program, and also they've worked with DOD, and the intelligence community In-Q-Tel, and you know, they've come up with some really good solutions so far that we wouldn't have found through the traditional contracting methods, through the FAR. So they've used other transactions and things like that. We've also used what's called the Commercial Solutions Opening Program, CSOP, section 880. Sorry for all these acronyms and things like that, but that provides an alternative procurement authority that we've done at CBP to look for solutions that are already developed, ready to be released, and it's done outside the FAR. We've also leveraged the Small Business Innovation Research Program phase--all the way up to phase III where we're looking across the government where there's already a phase I or phase II program that's going well and tapping into that. We have the authority to use another department's SBIR program if it's ready for phase III.

So again, you know, this is kind of just a high-level overview of what that innovation team has been looking at so far, but as, you know, if we get information from vendors talking about something that's kind of out of our normal arena, we certainly refer it over to this team to see if it's something that they, you know, wanna keep tabs on, engage with the vendor, and you know, see if it's something we wanna go further with. So a lot of commercial non-developmental that we already do at CBP, but we're also looking at the cutting-edge stuff that, you know, S&T helps promote, but also working directly with industry, thank you. Dee: Thank you, Rick.

That was a wealth of information, and what makes this so great is that everybody can just go straight to the websites and find out even more information that you guys already described today. So as you can see, this slide is Connect With Us, so it's just giving everyone our information on how you can get in contact with us, with CBP, with FEMA, and S&T. And so, while this is up, you know, it's just great, you know, having both of you guys here today. And I think that our external stakeholders are really getting just an in-depth glimpse of all the wonderful things that we do here at DHS and how we are staying focused on our mission. And you know, just letting them know that we really work hard together as a team, as industry liaisons.

And you know, over the last six months with this COVID-19 crisis, we really had to just really jump into gear and work with one another as industry liaisons, and I know that our headquarter's industry liaisons, they really just jumped right into it, and we all had a meeting to determine what we can do to alleviate all of the questions and all of the--that was coming through our innovation inbox, and we worked together as a team to make sure that these things happened, but a lot of those inquires came to FEMA. And so, I know you guys had to filter out so many requests and inquires that came into your inboxes. Can you just explain a little bit, Ms. Eldridge, on your take on this COVID-19 crisis and how we all worked together as one? Ms. Eldridge: Yes, I can, Ms. Parker, thank you again so much. So as you indicated, there was a lot of information that came through FEMA as it related to--or as it related to COVID-19, and we're still getting inquires that come in regarding COVID-19. So there were individuals who wanted to offer their services, whether it was a company that could provide 10,000 masks or 300.

Whether they were companies that had access to hand sanitizer, wipes, and things of that nature. But the good thing was is that we were able to, as you stated earlier, we were able to work together as a whole, as a team, the industry liaisons within the department. We were able to share information. We were able to reach out to each one of the components to find out, you know, have you all received this information? You know, are you all looking for individuals that can provide PPE? Who do we sent this to? Who do we connect with? So it was phenomenal, and it continues to be phenomenal.

And the good thing is, is that the partnership started, you know, when the Industry Liaison Counsel was formed, long before COVID-19 happened. And so, having one another as partners has served to be just beneficial. And so, you know, we're gonna continue beyond COVID. We were doing this before COVID, we're gonna continue through COVID, and moving forward.

And as much as we need to be there for one another, we're gonna be there. So thank you so much for asking the question. Dee: And Rick, what are your thoughts? Do you have any final thoughts, you know, even with the COVID-19 crisis, or just with this webinar as a whole? Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to share with our audience before we go to Q&A? Rick: I think, with respect to the COVID, I think the department did a good job in trying to, consolidate's not the right word, but to streamline how the department was gonna respond and work with industry.

'Cause I can--you know, from a CBP perspective, you know, certainly back last spring and last summer, we were getting multiple emails a day with people who said they had masks, or you know, all these different commodities. And it really didn't make sense for eight to ten different buying organizations and DHS to deal with everything individually. It made sense to try to bring this together as one community, so by DHS kind of doing that and working with FEMA to try to do things at a more enterprise level, I think was effective. Because not only were we trying to meet the mission and carry out what we need to do, but we're also trying to do it in a sound business way, and you know, trying to--not that we're trying to do it on the cheap, but we don't wanna waste money. So I think it was an important thing for the department to do it as a community.

Dee: Thank you so much, and I just wanna say once again, I wanna thank both of you guys for being and participating in this webinar. This is our second one, so it's very exciting to have you guys here. I'm gonna turn it over to Connie, so she can look in the chat and see what questions she has for all three of us. Connie, over to you. Connie: Thanks, Dee, yeah, we actually have a lot of questions.

So, a couple of things here. If you do have a question for us, please put it in the Q&A chat box. If we are not able to get to your question today, please send us an email at SandT.Innovation@hq.dhs.gov.

You can see it's in the lower right-hand corner of the screen right there. So with that, I will just go ahead and jump right in. Our first question today is for FEMA. So, seeing that FEMA needs to be prepared for when disasters strike, do you maintain any type of advanced contracts? If so, is the information for these contracts available to view? Ms. Eldridge: Yes, Connie, thank you so much for asking. So there is, on our website, on the Doing Business with FEMA website, there's something called Advanced Contracting for Goods and Services.

To some, they may be known as Pre-Position Contracts. That may have been terminology that was used at some time, you know, out in the supplier world, contracting world, but they're now called Advanced Contracting for Goods and Services. And so, that information is available on the Doing Business with FEMA website. You can find it there, the website that I've referenced in my presentation. If you scroll down, I believe it's under Resources, and you'll be able to find it, but I just wanna reference that in FY2021, FEMA currently has 89 Advanced Contracts in 46 Mission-essential Areas, and when you go there, you can see the description and the awardee.

So, you won't see a specific person's name, but you'll see the company that was awarded. But that information is there and it's public and is readily available for viewing. Thank you so much for asking. Connie: Okay, absolutely, all right. So this next question is for CBP and S&T as well. So, how does CBP work with S&T on development of new technologies related to its mission? Rick: Sure, so CBP and most of the components across DHS, we don't have R&D money ourselves, you know, and DOD, a lot of the buying agencies, they do have their own R&D, but you know, at DHS and CBP, we rely on S&T for that development arm for future technologies.

So the coordination that goes on, I would say there's one primary way and a secondary way. The primary one is each year, at least once, maybe twice a year, S&T, they will do outreach to the various DHS components, such as CBP and FEMA. And they're gonna ask them basically what is it that you want us to be focusing on? Where are you seeing challenges? Where are your gaps? You know, so it's like, okay, if we're gonna spend this R&D money, we wanna put it towards the areas we know that it's needed. So there's a back and forth, a communication between the components and S&T on what those needs are. And then, additionally, kind of a secondary role that we have at CBP is, we have an S&T liaison that resides in the Office of Acquisition at CBP. So that person is kind of a boots-on-the-ground or they have kind of the ears right on site with CBP.

So though they're participating in meetings between the Chief Acquisition Executive and programs, and hearing where these challenges are, it's much easier to pick up on that information and to be able to share it. And they're also able to take information they're getting from S&T and make sure it's communicated appropriately across CBP. So we kind of have a strategic network going on that happens once or twice a year. We also have that tactical, day-to-day communication and liaison that we have within the office. Connie: Okay, all right, thank you so much for that. And then, Dee, the next question goes to you.

So, this is in reference to the DHS Industry Outreach Form. So the question is, what happens to the information in the form after an organization or a person submits it? Dee: So once we receive the information from the form, we have a team here. And so, once we accept it from the website, we take that information so that we can add it to our mailing list and to our database. That way we have those specific opportunities on those R&D needs, and we can reach out to those companies that work with those technology capabilities, so that way we can get in contact with you guys, whether we're having any events or any information that's going on with S&T, or if we see that there is a technology capability within S&T.

We can pull your company and they can take a look at your capabilities that you have given to us in the information, and then that way you'll be in that database for us to reach out to you. Connie: Okay, thank you. And then, this next question actually goes to any one of our incredibly knowledgeable industry liaisons. So, can any of you answer the question is there a small business liaison or a small disadvantaged veteran-owned or women-owned or HUD's-owned businesses? Ms. Eldridge: I can answer that.

This is Ms. Eldridge from FEMA. So, I believe each component has a small-business specialist, but I know in FEMA we do. His name is Mr. Keegan, and his information is also available on

the Doing Business website. So each component should have a small-business specialist, or at least a small-business office that any individual who is a small business can reach out to to obtain additional information on how to do business with that respective component. Or if you're looking at the department level, on how you can do business at the department level as well, thank you. Rick: Yeah, and I'll just add on to Ms. Eldridge. So, each component does have that small business contact, but in addition, at the Department, in the Chief Procurement Office, they have the OSDBU, Office of Small Business Disadvantaged Business Utilization Office, and they have a team of a half a dozen or so individuals, and each of them have a particular, what's the word I wanna use, not category, but someone will be kind of the HUBZone point of contact or the service disabled veteran-owned point of contact.

So if you have a particular designation, there are some people out there that, you know, might be able to provide you some advice from that perspective at the department. Dee: And I just wanted to chime in to say I think, you know, in the beginning of the webinar, we showed you the OCPO website, so that should be in the chat if you want to go and check out those resources. Connie: Okay, and then thank you all so much.

And then we only have time for one more question today. We've had a number of great questions in here. So, but Dee, we've had a number of questions come in regarding how organizations can find out which of S&T's innovation programs fund technology and the varying levels of technology or manufacturing-readiness levels. The question is more towards the life cycle of those programs, including the funding limits. Can you reiterate the resources that are available to help people learn about S&T's innovation funding programs? Dee: Yes, when we showed in our demo the Industry Guide, that's a wealth of information on where your company would fit with the TRL levels, whether high or low. And then, in addition to that, go to our website to see all of the different funding tools, funding opportunities that we have, and it lists all of the funding opportunities that we have, and when you click in there, you'll get that information right there on the spot.

Connie: Okay, and then that looks like all the questions that we have time for today. Dee, any final thoughts from you? Dee: Just wanna reiterate that this has been an exciting, hands-on workshop of--feel type of industry outreach webinar. So, I wanna thank all the participants who logged on today, and I also wanna thank Ms. Eldridge and Rick Gunderson

for their participation here. This is the first time we've ever showcased industry liaisons, I think, in S&T just in general, so this is a first. So, we are the first.

And so, I wanna thank you guys for just participating today. That's all I have, Connie. Connie: All right, so thank you so much, Dee. Thank you so much to our other participants. We want to especially thank everyone for joining us today. We know that you've all been given some great resources, and as a reminder, if you do have any followup questions, please be sure to send us an email at the SandT.Innovation@hq.dhs.gov email.

That should be in the chat. And we invite you to joint us next month as we discuss the long-range broad agency announcement, and go into more detail on that program. So, you can find more information about that on our S&T events page. We look forward to seeing you next month, thanks everyone.

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2021-04-04 01:20

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