The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is awarding a firm-fixed price (FFP) delivery order to IBM without considering other awardees under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC), according to a justification for exception to fair opportunity (JEFO).

The proposed requirement from this contract is to provide a continued disaster recovery capability for CBP’s legacy Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), which CBP has already established as a cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service solution at the IBM data center.

“The current CBP IBM environment and enterprise architecture was developed over a period of more than 10 years. After a significant ACE outage in August 2017, OIT [Office of IT] devised an ACE Reliability plan to provide a reliable environment, prevent future data corruption, reduce potential for outages, provide flexibility to test restore procedures and provide enough capacity for the next two years while OIT migrates to the cloud,” CBP detailed in the JEFO.

“The outage backed up cargo across the country and all transportation modes. As a result, CBP contracted with IBM to establish a Disaster Recovery site to ensure CBP and the trade community would not face a similar outage in the future.”

CBP added that it has taken months to get to where the current IBM Federal Data Center is today, and that “starting over would not be fiscally responsible to the tax payers and place a high risk of another outage with additional congressional demands and loss revenue.”

The maximum period of performance detailed in the JEFO is for five years—one base year and four one-year options. The exact dollar amount of this award has been redacted.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.