Homeland Security & Defense Business Council and Grant Thornton Unveil Fourth Annual Report on State of the Homeland Security Enterprise

March 11, 2019

WASHINGTON – The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council (Council) and Grant Thornton today released the fourth annual 20/20 Project on the State of the Homeland Security Enterprise Report. Part of a five-year initiative centered on the “Shared Vision, Shared Challenges, and Shared Opportunities” between government and industry across the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE), the 2019 report focuses on the promise of innovation and the pain of bid protests in federal government acquisitions supporting the homeland security mission.

“The 2019 20/20 Project report presents critical insights and recommendations to build better engagement models between government and industry to overcome the barriers to acquiring innovation, address the underlying drivers of protests, and ultimately achieve greater mission success,” said Council President and CEO Marc Pearl. “It represents a significant milestone in our five-year project, and we are excited to offer actionable steps both sectors can take in support of the homeland security mission.”

“In the face of new and evolving threats to our nation’s security, it remains critically important for government and industry to work together in solving mission challenges,” said Tim Hanes, a senior manager with Grant Thornton and leader of the Project team. “By addressing existing perceptions and enhancing communication, these two communities can make tremendous progress towards harnessing the promise of innovation and avoiding the pain of protests.”

The 20/20 Project Report was released at the Council’s annual National Conversation event, which brought together more than 100 government and industry leaders to discuss opportunities and challenges surrounding innovation in the HSE. The program featured conversations with Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; William Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of Under Secretary for Science and Technology, DHS; Tammy Meckley, Associate Director, Immigration Records and Identity Services Directorate, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; and Joanna IpActing Assistant Director, Operational Technology and Cyber Division, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Building on the insights gained in the first three years of the Project, the 2019 report identified the factors that drive success or failure in acquiring and delivering innovation and influence behavior and decision-making regarding bid protests, as well as how perceptions around protests and innovation impact the homeland security mission.

In addition to providing separate recommendations on innovation and protests, the report offers recommendations that address challenges and opportunities underlying both topics:

  • Improve communication between government and industry earlier in the procurement process on desired mission outcomes, current market capabilities and dynamics, evaluation criteria and appropriate market discriminators;

  • Design procurements to address mission problems and outcomes instead of acquiring specific solutions;

  • Design procurements and information sharing to improve industry’s ability to decide when and how to bid and the government’s ability to evaluate bidders; and

  • Improve training and exercises for technical evaluations, “best value” debriefs, effective communication with industry, and managed risk taking.

The Council and Grant Thornton conducted a series of facilitated focus groups and an online survey that involved more than 200 homeland security subject-matter experts in the public and private sectors throughout the summer and fall of 2018 to gather insights on both topics. Participants included senior leaders from across the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the General Services Administration, other federal agencies, and from the leading large, mid-tier, and small companies that support the HSE.

To read the full 20/20 Project report, click here.