TSA Wants to Hire ‘Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business’

Awarding $30 million contract for security training

December 18, 2013

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is looking exclusively for an "economically disadvantaged woman owned small business" when it awards its next $30 million contract for security training.

The agency announced a solicitation for a company to conduct training for its Inter-Modal Security and Training Exercise Program (I-Step) last week.

"The Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issues this request for proposals (RFP) to the economically disadvantaged woman owned small business (EDWOSB) industry to assist the TSA in meeting its responsibilities under the Aviation Transportation Security Act and other legislation," the solicitation said.

The notice states that the female-owned business chosen will deliver security training and work to "continuously improve the risk posture of the transportation systems serving the nation."

The contract will be worth up to $30 million, including $29.9 million to provide the program and $100,000 for travel expenses.

I-STEP "provides exercise, training, and security planning tools and services to the transportation community."

The Small Business Administration defines an Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) as a company that is "at least 51 percent directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more women who are citizens (born or naturalized) of the United States and who are economically disadvantaged."

An economically disadvantaged woman is one who earns less than $350,000 a year, with a net worth not greater than $750,000.

Contracting offices are required to set quotas for hiring EDWOSBs by the Small Business Act, which was enacted in January. According to the law, women are "subjected to discrimination in entrepreneurial endeavors due to their gender" and it is "in the national interest" to "remove discriminatory barriers."

The act sets government-wide goals that at least 23 percent of all contracts must be awarded to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans, "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals," and women.

The upcoming award, which was first reported by Government Security News, will place a woman-owned business in charge of the I-STEP program. The contractor will be required to deliver a "suite of risk-based security planning solutions and training products." Interested female vendors will have until Jan. 27 to respond.

The contractor will also "track and document the development of a comprehensive transportation security objectives and scenarios."

Requests for comment from the TSA were not returned.