NGA, Satellites, and You

GSA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) have partnered on a blanket purchase agreement through IT schedule 70, under a special item number (SIN). Contracting Officers from NGA, an agency that relies heavily on satellite data, have noted that they appreciate the flexibility when purchasing through GSA.  So far, 11 vendors for “Earth Observation Solutions” have been tapped. (Federal Computer Week, February 2019)

According to Bill Zielinski, GSA’s acting assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology, “The commercial earth observation industry has experienced accelerated growth, and we’re very pleased to position our offering to provide the latest in emerging technology and solutions while making it easier for our government customers to reach these companies.” (ibid)

The partnering of GSA and NGA supports the Commercial Initiative to Buy Operationally Responsive GEOINT — also known as CIBORG. In 2016, the partners set up CIBORG, which gives the NGA access to GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules Program. (Federal Computer Week, February 2019) Now NGA can buy as the need arises, without the need to go through a lengthy procurement process. If NGA needs to monitor a distant land or waterway, they can quickly contract out for updated information from commercial entities rather than deploy their own resources, therefore providing cost savings in addition to an immediately available service.

Questions about Earth Observation Services or how to be part of the new Schedule 70 initiative? Give us a call at 301-913-5000 and we will walk you through it.

INFORMation

At the beginning of fiscal year 2019, GSA implemented the enhanced post-award feedback pilot. GSA has termed this pilot the In-Depth Feedback through Open Reporting Methods or INFORM. (GSABLOG under Acquisition) INFORM allows  offerers to improve upon a proposal or even to see why they were not awarded a contract.

A customized evaluation statement, an opportunity for an in-person oral feedback meeting with the GSA evaluation team, and the option to submit follow up questions are offered under the INFORM pilot. GSA hopes this will help offerers see that the playing field is leveled and everyone is treated fairly during the procurement process. (ibid) This transparency should also cut down on post-award protests.

We are waiting to hear which 50 competitive acquisitions are being tested. So far we know that they will be of varying dollar thresholds, categories, and business size. Moreover, according to GSA, the test group is a representative sample of GSA acquisitions with two Federal Acquisition Service and two Public Building Service actions from each of the 11 GSA Regions and Central Office. The pilot will end with the fiscal year or upon the final procurement award, whichever occurs first. GSA will publish an analysis of the pilot findings. (GSABLOG under Acquisition)

Has your company been contacted by GSA asking for feedback on INFORM? Do you have questions you’d like answered before taking part? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

SAM it Up!

The System for Award Management (SAM) has implemented a new process. Beginning last week, entities registering for financial assistance may submit common federal government-wide representations and certifications (reps and certs). Anyone completing their annual registration or renewing will be required to review financial assistance reps and certs before their registration can be activated. This, in turn, will make SAM.gov the federal repository for this information. (GSA.gov)

Registration in SAM.gov is requiredIn order to be awarded a federal contract. Contractors update SAM.gov annually; federal government auditors utilize SAM to determine whether contract award recipients are compliant with award requirements. Once reps and certs are completed, doing business with the federal government is much easier and more streamlined (ibid)

Need help completing your reps and certs? Give us a call! 301-913-5000.

 

Tech Mod Fund Already Active

Tucked inside last week’s House Appropriations Committee bill, was a $25 million line item adding to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF). The TMF was created in fiscal year 2018 with $150 million aiming to help agencies with IT projects deemed critical; it is intended to make a significant impact on agency services and quickly deliver a return on investment. Although funding has faltered several times already, it appears the House will continue to add it as a line item until it is passed.  (Nextgov January 22, 2019)

Six different projects have been awarded, or loaned, under the original $150 million. Agencies have five years to pay back these amounts. (ibid) Included are the following receipts:

  • GSA received $15 million
  • Agriculture $5 million
  • Labor $3.5 million
  • HUD $45 million

Funding is provided via TMF board approval. The board consists of seven federal tech leaders, who weigh proposals through a two-round application process before voting on which efforts to approve and fund. (ibid)

Want to know more about which agencies are seeking funding and how to get positioned to bid?  Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

 

809 Panel Contracting Shake-Up

Often, the Department of Defense has the need to make “real time” purchases, in the same way as corporations in the commercial world. With a procurement process in place that can be lengthy, the solutions provided may not always be the most technologically advanced. Congress took this knowledge and commissioned the Section 809 Panel.

The Section 809 Panel streamlines and codifies acquisition for DoD and addresses issues with the way DoD purchases warfighter equipment. The panel released their third report this week, with the final report (tying all findings together) expected to be released in mid-February.

Among its recommendations to mirror the commerical marketplace are the following:

  • A more streamlined approach for purchases, which includes halting publicly advertising procurements and small businesses set asides. (Federal News Network January 15, 2019)
  • Dividing DOD purchases into three groups:
    • Goods readily available -acquisition officials could buy items on a fixed-price basis worth up to $15 million — or higher with senior official approval — via direct solicitations or price quotes. This includes no public advertisement or small business set aside requirements.
    • Goods readily available with some modifications – would follow similar principles as goods readily available, but allow for slightly more government contract stipulations, oversight, and transparency. For example, those contracts covering most of DoD’s services spending would require public solicitations if they’re worth more than $15 million. And losing bidders would be able to file both pre- and post-award GAO protests.
    • Defense unique procurements -the panel acknowledged that DoD and Congress had already done significant work to develop alternative acquisition approaches that could deliver systems more quickly. (ibid)

The Section 809 panel will be disbanded this summer, expecting its study to live on in perpetuity. The report’s final recommendation is for all of the panel’s records to be transferred to a proposed Center for Acquisition Innovation at the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School. (Federal News Network January 2019)