Garud has demonstrated experience providing critical technology and engineering solutions to ensure projects remain fully aligned with the project budget, schedule and technical performance objectives and goals. Our excellence in execution of our services supports our clients’ success in meeting their projects’ requirements and missions.
Background: Currently, the size, weight, and capabilities of non-lethal weapons that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents carry in the field are restrictive and mutually exclusive from lethal weapons, requiring agents to either carry two large and bulky weapons, or decide which to take before leaving their vehicle. Garud worked with the U.S. Department Read More
Currently, the size, weight, and capabilities of non-lethal weapons that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents carry in the field are restrictive and mutually exclusive from lethal weapons, requiring agents to either carry two large and bulky weapons, or decide which to take before leaving their vehicle. Garud worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (DHS S&T) Directorate, and other community Stakeholders across DHS and the DoD, to deliver an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) that considered the trade-offs for use of non-lethal weapons to augment CBP capabilities.
Why was this a challenge?
To deliver a credible analysis, GTS required true independence. At the same time, we needed to work closely with the communities of practice to ensure an accurate understanding of their operational tactics, techniques and procedures. An environment of mutual trust and respect was established with stakeholders to ensure an objective AoA process was maintained and executed. A successful path forward could only be realized through creating an effective, collaborative working environment, a refined AoA process, and leveraging the experience of a unique team of subject matter experts.
How did GTS ensure success for DHS S&T?
A successful path forward could only be realized through creating an effective, collaborative working environment, a refined AoA process, and leveraging the experience of a unique team of subject matter experts.
Created a professional, open and objective AoA working environment
GTS worked with DHS S&T to establish ground rules for in-step stakeholder reviews, in order to maintain the integrity of the process and the findings. Regular working drafts were coordinated with CBP, DHS S&T and other interagency stakeholders, to share progress and knowledge gained, solicit feedback and validate assumptions.
Tailored AoA Methodology
While DHS guidance provided direction for the conduct of AoAs in acquisition programs, there were no true “gold standard” examples to consider in scaling those processes for smaller projects. GTS applied its experience in supporting the acquisition lifecycle, while working closely with all mentioned, to tailor a streamlined approach that addressed the key elements of DHS guidance, and focus study efforts more keenly on the specific problem at hand.
Leveraged expertise of a cross-functional team of Subject Matter Experts
GTS recruited and engaged a team of unique subject matter experts to address the unique challenges involved in CBP and Non-Lethal Weapons operations. Our team included individuals with law enforcement and military backgrounds with relevant lethal and non-lethal weapon experience across the use-of-force spectrum. These members were carefully selected to include demonstrated expertise in studies and analysis.
Garud applied its decades of experience in supporting the Federal Acquisitions lifecycle, working through a cross-functional team, to lead the focused development of an effective AoA process. GTS delivered a comprehensive market survey and analysis of non-lethal force options with the potential to meet the specific requirements defined by the community of practice representatives. It also provided transparency to all involved of the analytical process – to include a full Plan of Actions and Milestones (POA&M). The POA&M provided DHS S&T and CBP a detailed path forward in establishing and managing a portfolio of these related capabilities.
The products of this study would allow DHS S&T to better work with the DHS Joint Requirements Council (JRC), and support the Capability Gap Analysis Process (CGAP), while augmenting the Joint Requirements Integration Management System (JRIMS). GTS is confident that the best practices applied, and the lessons learned from the AoA process employed, will create a good foundation for future AoA studies within DHS.
Federal Aviation Administration, Facilities Directorate, Power Services Group (AJW-22) Acquisition Management Support
Background: Garud Technology Services (GTS) provides cradle-to-grave contractual support, including development of Screening Information Requests (SIRs), preparation of award documents for directed and competed contracts, contract administration support and coordination of closeout activities as required to successfully execute the Power Services Group (PSG) acquisition mission. Why is This a Challenge? Well-conceived, planned and executed acquisitions Read More
Garud Technology Services (GTS) provides cradle-to-grave contractual support, including development of Screening Information Requests (SIRs), preparation of award documents for directed and competed contracts, contract administration support and coordination of closeout activities as required to successfully execute the Power Services Group (PSG) acquisition mission.
Why is This a Challenge?
Well-conceived, planned and executed acquisitions are critical to ensure that the contracting outcome meets the needs of the customer and costs/schedules are realistic. The combination of the constant pace of technology advancements and complex business processes typical of federal contracting makes effective acquisition of products and services a challenge. Ensuring that the FAA has the best technology available and effective packages for acquisitions together is not a simple task. Any misstep in the process can lead to acquisition of subpar technologies and poor project execution simply because the acquisition was flawed. This wastes time and money for the customer.
What has GTS done to ensure success?
Leverage industry and government acquisition experience
GTS delivers staff that uniquely blend industry and government acquisition experience. Government acquisition experience is essential to ensure that acquisition strategies, cost estimates and SIR packages developed to require minimal re-work. Industry acquisition experience enables improved analysis of alternatives – both in terms of technologies and technical approaches – proposed by bidders. Further, GTS delivers proactive and regular market research to ensure PSG is aware of new technologies along with their potential merits to enable a better acquisition strategy. Our team provides the government customer unique insights into commercial perspectives which drives their anticipated bidding strategies. Understanding how industry bidders approach proposal development and problem solving ultimately improves the ability of the government to identify and select best value proposals.
Collaborative Strategy Sessions to Understand Requirements and Propose New Technologies
With the support of the government customer, GTS created and leads working group sessions specifically designed to support PSG acquisitions. GTS led efforts to facilitate improved communications between contracting and technical personnel in order to ensure common understanding of technical and managerial requirements. The result is a significantly decreased SIR development cycle time, re-work and improved acquisition outcomes.
GTS blends industry and government acquisition experience to enable efficient development and execution of PSG acquisition efforts. The custom, developed and executed collaborative strategy session ensures understanding of technical requirements and challenges for contracting and technical personnel alike. Proactive market research enables GTS to propose acquisition approaches that will always satisfy customer needs. Ultimately, the experience and communication enabled by GTS decreases the time to create and approve SIRs which enables a better overall delivery of products and services needed by the PSG customer.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Passenger Systems Program Division (PSPD), LBI PMO Technical Services and Program Management Support
Background: GTS is working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to support the Land Border Integration (LBI) Program Management Office (PMO). The LBI PMO is responsible for ensuring the systems integrator for LBI, CBP and other external stakeholders effectively execute and support security measures as required by Read More
GTS is working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to support the Land Border Integration (LBI) Program Management Office (PMO). The LBI PMO is responsible for ensuring the systems integrator for LBI, CBP and other external stakeholders effectively execute and support security measures as required by the 9/11 Commission. GTS supports many management and engineering functions in the LBI PMO to include program management, and systems and process engineering. GTS has unique and long-standing experience with the LBI PMO dating back to its origins in 2007.
Why is This a Challenge?
The size and scale of LBI requires a sophisticated strategy and management approach to support CBP in the integration of many technologies and business processes. LBI was created to enhance border security through integration of technologies across nearly all U.S. inbound land border crossings and includes such technologies as License Plate Readers (LPR), Radio-Frequency Identification Readers (RFID), and Vehicle Primary Client (VPC). Beyond vehicle focused technologies, the LBI program is designed to enhance security measures on inbound pedestrian, outbound vehicle and pedestrian, Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint processing and improve existing primary processing operations. This nationwide enterprise is essential for homeland security.
What has GTS done to ensure Success?
Working for the PMO, GTS has worked to reduce LBI operating costs, while enhancing program performance and resolving technology integration challenges.
Reduce Operating Costs
The LBI PMO is ultimately responsible to ensure Service Level Agreements (SLAs) governing the availability of critical border security systems are met. Balancing SLAs, which are crucial to maintaining border security against reducing costs, is a delicate balance to achieve. Over the course of GTS’s work with the LBI PMO, we have, in concert with the Systems Integrator, generated and proposed actionable program improvements which drove down operating costs by approximately 10% without compromising SLAs and overall program performance.
Any large project is at risk for significant delays and cost overruns. Securing the land border of the U.S. is a daunting task. GTS works for the LBI PMO to identify potential risks to schedule, budget and overall LBI effectiveness. As risks are identified, solutions are developed in collaboration with the Systems Integrator, LBI PMO and higher levels of CBP. Early in the start of the project, there were opportunities to accelerate the initial stand up of the project which was forecasted to take a full year. GTS worked with the LBI PMO to execute creative strategies to reduce the initial stand up to only nine months, or 25% faster than anticipated.
Technology Selection and Strategy
While the CBP had a major technology integrator working on integrating and inserting security measures, it remained the responsibility of the LBI PMO to proactively work to avoid any challenges related to new technology integration and insertion. GTS worked collaboratively with CBP employees as a part of the overall LBI PMO to analyze risks in order to proactively develop and implement solutions to the inevitable challenges inherent in any large scale program.
While the outcome of the project is ongoing, GTS has enabled better technology integration, program performance and cost reductions without compromising performance and ultimately the security of the United States of America. Our contributions to drive down costs without compromising performance is a crucial accomplishment that we share with CBP. The proactive and collaborative environment that GTS employs with CBP’s LBI PMO has allowed us to work together to anticipate challenges before they manifest as a crisis which comprises performance and security.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Passenger Systems Program Division (PSPD), Program Control PMO: Technical Services and Program Management Support
Background: GTS provides portfolio management support to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Information and Technology (OIT), Passenger Systems Program Division (PSPD), Program Control Division (PCD) assisting in aligning programs and projects to CBP investment and mission goals. GTS also has broad ranging responsibilities supporting Agency Read More
GTS provides portfolio management support to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Information and Technology (OIT), Passenger Systems Program Division (PSPD), Program Control Division (PCD) assisting in aligning programs and projects to CBP investment and mission goals. GTS also has broad ranging responsibilities supporting Agency and Department management and reporting functions.
Why is this a challenge?
The PSPD PCD is responsible for all acquisitions and procurement action, asset management, executive management and performance measuring and monitoring for all PSPD programs. The PCD is charged with measuring, understanding and driving better overall PSPD program performance. The size and scale of the CBP enterprise, along with the need to facilitate legal cross-border travel and commerce creates significant pressure to continually improve program performance. The charter to improve performance without significant budget and other resource increases is a core aspect of the Program Management Office’s (PMO) challenge to succeed.
What has GTS done to enable Customer success?
Reduced time to generate meaningful analysis and reports on program performance
Program reporting is traditionally a lengthy process with manual and legacy processes. Working to improve performance and reporting times, GTS designed and implemented a simple reporting mechanism to decrease report production cycle times by adapting data already captured in the PCD’s SAP-based financial system. With this decreased cycle time came improved repeatability as well as the capability to trace and connect expenditures to investment objectives and operational outcomes.
The new mechanisms and processes have reduced end-to-end production times for many common and ad hoc reporting requirements from typical legacy 2-day turnaround times to only a few hours at most. The enhanced traceability afforded by the new mechanisms also provides improved understanding of the real costs of operation and so a more focused picture of bottom-to-top return on investment.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Passenger Systems Program Directorate (PSPD) Program and Project Management Engineering Services Support TECS Modernization (TECS Mod)
Background: Garud is working with CBP in the modernizing of the legacy TECS system. TECS is the principal system used by officers at Ports of Entry to assist with traveler screening and admissibility determinations. TECS is a large, complex Information Technology (IT) system that supports 70,000+ users from over 20 stakeholder organizations responsible for traveler Read More
Garud is working with CBP in the modernizing of the legacy TECS system. TECS is the principal system used by officers at Ports of Entry to assist with traveler screening and admissibility determinations. TECS is a large, complex Information Technology (IT) system that supports 70,000+ users from over 20 stakeholder organizations responsible for traveler processing, investigations, case management, and intelligence.
A Unique Technical Challenge
To best manage risks to cost, schedule and performance, TECS Mod testing is performed continuously throughout the development and acquisition life cycle. As new modules are made available, test scenarios and methods are developed and applied to evaluate the functionality. Our reporting informed necessary improvements, that could be incorporated in the next development cycle so that overall development progress continues as corrections are being implemented (e.g. in Agile methodologies).
An added level of complexity in this program is that both the legacy system functionality and the modernized functionality are in operation and are being supported simultaneously. This means that agents continue to use software tools hosted on the legacy mainframe while participating in operational test events hosted on cloud servers (in the case of the modernized functionality). Moreover, given policy restrictions with law enforcement sensitive systems, GTS had to apply adaptive assessment methods, leveraging training and other developmental environments to assist an Operational Test Agent in the determination of operational effectiveness and suitability.
What has GTS done to ensure CBP is successful?
Ensuring Transparency and Communication across the Project
GTS understands that timely information regarding system performance is critical to complex, high-profile, time-sensitive IT acquisition programs. To facilitate the free flow of information for this effort, we hosted a highly-interactive and collaborative forum for weekly engagement of the CBP customer and each functional area of the TECS Modernization team. With oversight from the program manager, we track information requirements between stakeholders and tailor data collection and reporting to support their unique data requirements. We also manage meeting agendas; track risks to cost, schedule and performance; and facilitate discussions between participants so that emerging issues can be identified before they become obstacles. The result in a non-attributional work environment where participants are empowered to work together to mitigate risk items before problems are compounded.
Applicability to Other Projects
Enterprise-wide IT projects are typically the highest-risk acquisitions that a program manager can be tasked to execute. An operational test approach that produces evaluations only for milestone decision reviews does little to inform design decisions that can be significant drivers of cost and schedule. When OT&E is deferred until major phases of development are nearing completion, the program manager and the system developer must rely solely on developmental measures of performance at each spiral or sprint, an approach that can obscure critical design shortfalls until the cost to correct them becomes prohibitive.