12 Jan 2018

MDA Technology Alternatives

Type of document: Contract Notice
Country: United States

MDA Technology Alternatives

Department of Homeland Security

Official Address:
Office of the Chief Procurement Officer Washington DC 20528

Zip Code:

Dorothy J. Woolfolk, Phone 2022548794, Email dorothy.woolfolk@hq.dhs.gov – Richard J. Simons, Contract Specialist, Phone 202-254-8655, Email richard.simons@hq.dhs.gov


Date Posted:


Contract Description:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate
Borders and Maritime Security Division

Request for Information (RFI) No: DHS 18-RFI-00003

Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Technology Alternatives

THIS IS A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (RFI) ONLY in accordance with FAR 15.201(e). This RFI is issued solely for information and planning purposes; – it does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a promise to issue an RFP or Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). This RFI does not commit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to contract for any supply or service. DHS S&T is not at this time seeking proposals. Responders are advised that the S&T will not pay any cost incurred in response to this RFI. All costs associated with responding to this RFI will be solely at the interested party’s expense. Not responding to this RFI does not preclude participation in any future RFP or BAA. The information provided in this RFI is subject to change and is not binding on the S&T. All submissions become the property of S&T, and will not be returned.

1. Background / Program Description
The Borders and Maritime Security Division’s (BMD) mission is to enhance U.S. air, land and maritime border security while maximizing the flow of legitimate trade and travel. One of the key challenges for U.S. homeland security is achieving awareness of the nation’s vast maritime domain, which is roughly as large as the nation’s land area, and extends from New England to Guam. These waters are vital to our nation’s prosperity as routes for trade, sources of food, and sources of energy; they also play an important economic role in providing recreation. However, the nation’s vast maritime area also imposes requirements on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies. These agencies seek to protect people and property from damage by the sea, the nation from illicit movements via the maritime environment that threaten its security, and the maritime environment itself from both pollution and illicit fishing. To do so, they need to achieve maritime domain awareness (MDA) across diverse regions, as well as the ability to rapidly communicate, integrate, and analyze this information to facilitate effective and appropriate actions.

The importance of achieving MDA was underlined by a series of recent Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) that the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) established in 2015, at the Secretary’s direction, to identify and coordinate DHS Research and Development (R&D) efforts. The IPTs’ work led to the identification and prioritization of multiple technological capability gaps, including three that related specifically to MDA:
• Detecting and tracking “dark” (non-transponding) vessels, to ascertain whether they pose a threat in terms of smuggling, illegal fishing, or terrorism;
• Search and rescue, focusing on improving search and detection capabilities in maritime environments;
• Maritime communications in remote environments.

This is growing in importance due to the increasing accessibility of Arctic waters as the period of seasonal ice cover shortens; the ability to operate and communicate in that extreme, remote environment is becoming a greater role than it was previously.
Increasing MDA can also contribute to other DHS missions, including environmental response, ice monitoring, and enforcement of laws and treaties including illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU).

DHS S&T BMD is focused on making recommendations for S&T investments. The goal of this RFI is to assess the current market and identify technologies that will result in increased MDA capabilities sufficient to enable the success of the three critical missions above. This is therefore, not a solicitation nor guarantee of a future solicitation or contract award.

2. Objective(s)
The objective of the RFI is to collect information on technologies that can help DHS agencies and other stakeholders in the Homeland Security Enterprise (including non-DHS entities such as state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies) increase their MDA in three focus areas:

Detection of “dark” (non-transponding) vessels Vessels that do not use transponders – such as Automatic Identification System (AIS), Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), or Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) – are more difficult to detect and track than vessels with active transponders. DHS agencies need better methods to detect and track those “dark” (non-transponding) vessels that may be smuggling, fishing illegally, or engaging in other illicit activities. Key challenges include:
• Differentiating a relatively small number of vessels engaged in illicit activities from a much larger volume of legitimate vessel traffic.
• Detecting and tracking vessels that are deliberately minimizing their visibility (for example, very small, low profile, or low signature vessels) in an effort to evade law enforcement.
• Detecting and tracking vessels in remote locations with limited or no infrastructure, particularly at appreciable distances from land.
Search and rescue Shortening the “search” component of search and rescue can save lives. This includes being able to better detect that individuals are in distress, and being able to more accurately pinpoint and track their locations.
Arctic communications The need for DHS agencies to operate and communicate in Arctic waters is growing as overall activity in the region increases. At the same time, communication in the Arctic is challenging for multiple reasons: its remoteness, its extreme environment, its limited infrastructure, high-latitude atmospheric effects, and a paucity of polar satellite coverage.

Interested vendor responses shall take into account that the requisite technologies may reside in one or more relevant domains – such as undersea, surface, terrestrial (e.g., coastal), air, or space – that contribute to MDA. Responses shall also identify particular capability options / combinations and technology readiness levels. In addition responses shall assess the costs, developmental risks, and estimated timelines to achieve operational capability and the benefits (all broadly defined) of using particular technology approaches. This will enable DHS S&T to better understand technology portfolios and assist with planning that may be used to determine which technology portfolios to perform research, development, testing, and evaluation on, with the goal of moving technologies forward in the development cycle and ultimately transitioning them to DHS agencies that directly employ them.

There are several broad categories of technologies of interest:
• Sensors that collect information, such as radars and cameras
• Communications networks that receive and transmit information
• Platforms such as vehicles, fixed infrastructure, or satellites that can host either sensors or communications networks, in domains from under the seafloor to outer space
• Data integration/analysis systems that integrate inputs from diverse sensors to create a common operational picture, cue humans regarding anomalous behaviors, and facilitate sharing of relevant information across federal, state, and local agencies.

Sources able to satisfy some or all of the above capabilities are invited to submit information describing their system. Sources may submit information on more than one MDA focus area.
White Paper submissions shall have a maximum of 11 pages (including a cover page) and provide the following information:

Cover page (maximum 1 page)
• Contact and Company information
o Company Point of Contact (POC)
• Name
• Title
• Location
• Mailing address
• Phone number
• Email address
o Company Information
• Company Name
• Website
• Date of incorporation
• Brief overview of company history
• Fiscal Year (FY)13 through FY17 sales
• Number of employees
• Country in which it is headquartered
o If non-U.S., whether the company has a U.S. affiliate
o Note that RFI respondents shall designate a single POC for receipt of all information pursuant to this RFI.
• List any pertinent General Services Administration (GSA) schedule(s), if applicable.
• Name and type of technology or model
• Technology Maturity: Existing technology or technology concept; technology readiness level

Body of White Paper (maximum 10 pages)
Provide a technical description to include existing or expected performance characteristics/capabilities for key components of the technology/concept proposed for evaluation. This shall include all of the following:
• Description(s)
• Relevant information described for the MDA focus area (see section 2)
• Scenarios describing how the technology/concept will enhance MDA
• Technical capabilities of system (e.g., fidelity of detection, communication bandwidth)
• Domain applicability
• Any geographic, seasonal, sea-state, environmental, or day/night restrictions
• Security parameters (information, physical, cyber, etc.)
• Anticipated timeline to achieve full operational capability at one or more operating locations
• Any information regarding experience with operational use and any available performance metrics
• Overall operational history and technical maturity
• Compatibility with other systems, including whether it uses open or proprietary standards
• Technical specifications (for sensors, platforms, communications networks, and integration/analysis systems)
o Size (linear and volumetric) and weight
o Power and bandwidth requirements
o Degree of autonomy and/or personnel requirements to operate
o Reliability data (e.g., mean time between failures)
o Operational availability (what percentage of the time can it be operated)
• For sensors:
o Range of detection or tracking for a “dark” surface vessel with a 2 m2 or a 10 m2 cross-section in fair and rough seas (sea states 1 and 5).
o Resolution
o Sensitivity or minimum threshold of detection for a “dark” surface vessel with a 2 m2 or a 10 m2 cross-section in fair and rough seas (sea states 1 and 5).
o Type of information provided (e.g., detection of a contact or imagery showing that contact)
o False positive and false negative rates for a “dark” surface vessel with a 2 m2 or a 10 m2 cross-section in fair and rough seas (sea states 1 and 5).
o Geographical precision
• For platforms associated with sensors and communications networks:
o Range, speed, and endurance with maximum payload on board, at transit, sprint, and patrol speeds. For surface vessels, provide these values for a range of sea states (1 and 5). For aircraft, provide these values at 10,000 feet above sea level and at preferred operating altitude.
o Maximum payload weight with full fuel, maximum payload power, maximum number of mission system operator stations
• For communications networks:
o Bandwidth provided
o Coverage range
o Maximum numbers of inputs and outputs
• For integration/analysis systems:
o Maximum number of data streams (separate sensor inputs) it can handle
o Maximum number of contacts it can handle
o Maximum bandwidth it can handle
o Accuracy of correlation of disparate data feeds from different sensors
o Any capabilities to automatically designate contacts as being of interest and cue humans
• Including false positive and negative rates, if available
o Data latency/timeliness
o Compatibility with other hardware and software
• Durability in the maritime environment over time-e.g., expected lifespan
• Any features that may make the system resistant to deliberate attack
• Life-cycle cost estimates
• Requirements
o Integration of the system (e.g., person-hours required for integration)
o Operational test and evaluation
o Operator training
o Maintenance (both operational and depot-level)

White papers shall be submitted in Times New Roman font with a 12 pitch. All company proprietary information, performance capabilities, and/or future modification(s) should be clearly identified and marked.
By submitting a white paper(s) per the RFI, the submitter understands and consents to DHS and their evaluation team and DHS support contractors having access to the submissions. Please be advised that all submissions become Government property and will not be returned.

Respondents are hereby notified that the DHS Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) known as the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), a FFRDC operated by the RAND Corporation under contract to DHS, will be providing support in the Government’s review of responses to this RFI.
Method of submission: One electronic submission in MS Word format.

Responses to the RFI are to be submitted electronically to DHS S&T at S&TMDA@hq.dhs.gov Include the RFI Number (DHS 18-RFI-00003) and RFI project title (Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Technology Alternatives) in the subject line of your email.

Submissions shall be received no later than 5:00 PM, U.S. Eastern Standard Time, February 14, 2018. DHS reserves the right to review late submissions but makes no guarantee to the order of, or possibility for, review of late submissions. Respondents are solely responsible for any and all expenses incurred pursuant to responding to this RFI. Responses to the RFI may be used to develop Government documentation. Unsolicited proposals in response to this RFI will not be considered.

This RFI is issued solely for market research, planning, and information purposes and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government to issue a subsequent solicitation (Broad Agency Announcement, Request for Proposals, etc.). Feedback may not be provided to those responding to this RFI. This is not a formal source selection process, and so details as to the selection of any systems for testing and not others should not be expected to be provided.

Submissions shall be accepted for unclassified technologies only.

All unclassified information shall be submitted in the following manner:
White paper responses under this RFI shall be limited to Sensitive Security Information (SSI), company proprietary or unrestricted information. If SSI or company proprietary information is a part of the white paper, the interested vendor shall mark their submission(s) appropriately. SSI submissions can be submitted normally by password protecting the document and then sending the password in a separate email to the mailbox identified in Section 6.

The following is an abbreviated description of SSI:
“SSI is a control designation used by the Department of Homeland Security, and particularly the Transportation Security Administration. It is applied to information about security programs, vulnerability and threat assessments, screening processes, technical specifications of certain screening equipment and objects used to test screening equipment, and equipment used for communicating security information relating to air, land, or maritime transportation. The applicable information is spelled out in greater detail in 49 CFR 1520.7.

When transmitted by e-mail, SSI must be in a password-protected attachment. The password should be transmitted separately of the protected document.”
No classified information shall be submitted in response to this RFI.

All questions must be received no later than 5:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time, January 31, 2018. The Government will respond to all questions as soon as practical.

Questions and requests for additional information shall be sent to Dorothy Woolfolk, Contract Specialist, Office of Procurement Operations, Science & Technology Division, DHS at dorothy.woolfolk@hq.dhs.gov and Richard Simons, Contracting Officer, Office of Procurement Operations, Science & Technology Division, DHS at richard.simons@hq.dhs.gov.


Response Date:

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