FedScoop: HHS cites coronavirus ‘urgency’ in speedy Palantir contract awards

“The Department of Health and Human Services cited the ‘unusual and compelling urgency’ of coronavirus recovery as its reason for awarding two contracts, worth a total of $24.9 million, to Silicon Valley big data company Palantir without competition.”

“A $17.4 million contract awarded April 10 covers data-sharing management under Planatir’s Gotham software and a $7.5 million contract awarded April 22 cloud platform implementation, both for the HHS Protect system. The new platform informs White House Coronavirus Task Force efforts to track and mitigate COVID-19’s spread by pulling data from federal agencies, all 50 states, health care facilities, and academia with contributions from private industry.”

“HHS valued the supplies and services it needs for coronavirus recovery at $30 billion — the amount of supplemental funding Congress provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — in a class justification and approval (J&A) released Thursday.”

“‘Competing requirements taken under the authority of this class J&A would result in unacceptable time delays in fulfilling the agency’s urgent needs in addressing a global pandemic and national public health emergency,’ reads the justification. ‘It would jeopardize HHS’ public health mission in a way that would result in unacceptable risks to the health of the general public in the United States.’”

“The contracts awarded to Palantir represent ’emergency acquisitions,’ which may address not only information technology but research and development, support services, equipment, construction, and engineering needs, according to the class J&A.

While the justification states it will include documentation of the ‘extent of competition undertaken,’ no such documentation was provided for the Palantir contracts…” Read the full article here.

Source: HHS cites coronavirus ‘urgency’ in speedy Palantir contract awards – By Dave Nyczepir, May 8, 2020. FedScoop.

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