The domestic market for homeland security products is quite different than for defense products. While the Department of Defense completely controls the latter, the homeland security market is very fragmented. State and local agencies comprise a significant customer segment. So too does the private sector. And at the federal level, customers include not only the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but also the Departments of Justice, Defense, Transportation, Health and Human Services, and others.
Recognizing the fragmented nature of the market, DHS’s Commercialization Office created an innovative “commercialization process” to help the private sector develop and sell homeland security products. The commercialization process involves three primary steps:
1. In view of a private sector idea or on its own initiative, DHS will develop detailed operational requirements in the form of an Operational Requirements Document;
2. DHS then will provide an estimate of the market (including state and local entities and the private sector) for products that satisfy the specified requirements; and
3. Following independent testing and evaluation, DHS will certify products that satisfy the specified requirements, thereby giving DHS’s “seal of approval.”
This commercialization process has facilitated the development and sales of many homeland security products. While not a panacea for every company, the commercialization process can play a critical role for some companies and products. The process is well run by some of DHS’s most energetic and innovative officials. The shortcoming, if there is one, is the relative lack of advertisement by DHS’s senior leadership.