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CASE STUDIES

DHS Science and Technology (DHS S&T) Non-Lethal Weapon Analysis of Alternatives
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 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.

Outcome

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.