What is the Border Security Technology Consortium?
The BSTC is a powerful vehicle for CBP acquisitions because prototypes or research agreements made through it are exempt from complying with FAR regulations. OTAs such as the BSTC are exempt because they are not traditional procurements and are not intended to replace the traditional acquisition process. As a result, acquisitions made through the BSTC can be done quickly and simply. To ensure that organizations like the BSTC are not abused, agencies have imposed strict policies to limit the acquisition of products and services through agencies’ OTA. In the case of the BSTC, not all contracting officers are given permission to work on acquisitions issued through it. Only highly experienced contracting officers with enough training in, and knowledge of the DHS procurement process, DHS OTA, and procurement regulations can handle the acquisition of products and services through the BSTC. Additionally, prototype projects acquired via the BSTC must utilize non-traditional government contractors extensively or be funded in large part by the members of the BSTC. Utilizing the BSTC for research projects requires at least a 50% resource sharing between the government and the contractor and must be used primarily for the development of new tools where the acquisition of these goods and services are not the main purpose.