Peters and Daines Bipartisan Bill to Ensure DHS Can Procure Advanced Technologies to Strengthen National Security Passes Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Steve Daines (R-MT) to authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to extend its use of a procurement tool for acquiring leading-edge technology has advanced in the Senate. This procurement tool, known as other transaction authority (OTA), provides DHS with the flexibility to work with the most innovative businesses, including those that have not previously contracted with the federal government. OTA has helped DHS acquire advanced technologies to assist with critical homeland security missions, including border security, aviation security and supply chain security. The bill was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Peters serves as Chair. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration. 

“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,” said Senator Peters. “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.”

“Ensuring the Department of Homeland Security has access to the latest cutting-edge technology helps bolster our national security and better combat cyber threats,” said Senator Daines. “I’m glad to see our bipartisan bill pass with broad support and will keep working to get it across the finish line.” 

“The Alliance for Digital Innovation is supportive of S. 4024 and any legislation that provides agencies with flexibility, like other transaction authority, when acquiring the commercial solutions they need to meet their missions, said Ross Nodurft, Executive Director of the Alliance for Digital Innovation.“Other Transaction Authority is an important tool for any agency operating in an age where commercial technology is evolving rapidly.”  

OTA provides DHS with the means to quickly procure advanced technologies that address critical homeland security needs. The authority is set to expire September 30, 2024, and the legislation will extend the authority to ensure DHS can continue to utilize this tool. OTA allows DHS to enter into flexible agreements with businesses rather than traditional contracts, promoting more collaboration between the federal government and the business in sharing financial and technical risks, which increases commercialization opportunities. DHS provides for OTA opportunities to be posted publicly to facilitate competition, and OTA awards are reported to the Federal Procurement Data System for funding transparency. 

The bipartisan Better Enabling Secure and Trustworthy (BEST) Technology for the Homeland Act would extend the DHS existing OTA for 3 years, through fiscal year 2027. The authority was last extended as part of Chairman Peters Advancing American AI Act in the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.