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

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced bipartisan legislation to authorize Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to extend its use of a procurement tool for acquiring leading-edge technology. 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.  

“Agencies like the Department of Homeland Security can better protect our nation from a wide range of threats by staying at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies,” said Senator Peters.“This bipartisan bill will ensure DHS has the ability to keep pace with global competitors and procure the latest technologies to effectively secure our nation.”

“In order to keep our nation secure and combat threats from our adversaries, DHS must have access to leading technologies,” said Senator Daines.“I’m glad to introduce this bipartisan bill to strengthen our national security and keep America on the cutting edge.” 

“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 Actwould extend the DHS existing OTA for 7 years, through fiscal year 2031. The authority was last extended as part of Chairman Peters Advancing American AI Act in the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.