Pro-Tech Industry Day Q&A

Questions & Answers

August 12, 2015

 

I.   Category – Additional Info / Draft Request for Proposal (RFP)

II.   Category – Acquisition Plan / Strategy

III.  Category – Milestone

IV.  Category – Solicitation / Proposal

V.   Category – Subcontracting / Teaming

VI.   Category – Evaluation Factors

VII.   Category – Business Size / Small Business (SB) Awards

VIII.  Category – Number of Awards

IX.    Category – Other related Contracts / Acquisitions

X.     Category – Contract Structure

XI.    Category – Contract Administration

XII.   Category – Program Management Office (PMO)

XIII.  Category – NOAALink

XIV.  Category – Department of Commerce (DOC)

XV.   Category – General

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I.   Category – Additional Info / Draft Request for Proposal (RFP)

  1. Will there be additional industry days per domain?

Yes, each Domain will have a separate Industry Day.  The intent is to have technical points of contacts provide briefs on requirements.

  1. Will the Draft Solicitation include all clauses and especially Section L (Instructions to Offerors) and Section M (Evaluation of Offerors)?

Yes.

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II.    Category – Acquisition Plan / Strategy

  1. Has NOAA's legal department approved this acquisition strategy?

Yes.  The Acquisition Plan has received full approval.

  1. Why can't small business do all of the work?

NOAA has determined, and Small Business Administration (SBA) has concurred, that full and open competition with reserves for small business will be the most effective acquisition strategy for meeting NOAA’s procurement objectives for Pro-Tech.  This determination is based on extensive market research, including thorough and systematic analysis of the potential sources responding to each of the three Requests for Information and continuing industry meetings for each of the domains that reasonably demonstrate there are (1) no two or more socioeconomic concerns and (2) no two or more small businesses capable of performing all of the requirements for each of the individual domains. The historical spend data correlates with this assessment in that NOAA will require both other than small and small businesses to perform its mission.

  1. At a global level, is Pro-Tech a "full and open" contract?

Full and Open with Reserves for Small Business.

  1. Under Acquisition Strategy – What is/How will exception process work? – Will mandatory use be explored with Vendors or before Pro-Tech exceptions are allowed?

The exception process is an internal process that NOAA and will develop as part of the ordering guide for Pro-Tech line and staff offices to follow.

  1. Is the program maximum ceiling $3B per year over 5 years? Or is the total $5B in total?

The program is $3 Billion over 5 years.

  1. Why “Reserves”?

The strategy of Full and Open Competition with reserves for Small Business ensures we will be able to award a large number of contracts to Small Business across all domains.

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III.    Category – Milestone

  1. What is the time line for response to the RFP?

The Government plans to release a draft RFP and will allow a period of time for questions and responses.  The anticipated schedule for proposal submission will be 60 days after release of the final RFP.  Please see the Industry Day presentation for a summary of the schedule.

  1. What is the estimated Award Date?

Please see the Industry Day presentation for a summary of the current schedule.

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IV.    Category – Solicitation / Proposal

  1. How much change to the present work items in each Domain is expected when the RFP is released?

The Government is in the process of updating and validating each Domain’s Statement of Work (SOW).  The Government will be responding to technical questions following the release of the draft RFP and at the Domain Industry Days.

  1. What functions are included in Enterprise Operations?

At this time, the Government has not fully vetted the Enterprise Operation SOW within NOAA; however we anticipate requirements to include human capital management, facilities and property management, strategic planning, and project management as some examples.  The Government will be responding to technical questions following the release of draft RFP and at the Domain Industry Days.

  1. Does infrastructure such as radar fit under weather?

The Government will be responding to technical questions following the release of the draft RFP and at the Domain Industry Days.

  1. Do you foresee any diving projects upcoming, i.e. research vessel maintenance, video projects?

The Government will be responding to technical questions following the release of the draft RFP and at the Domain Industry Days.

  1. Which of the 5 Domains manages NOAA’s work in the Antarctic and Arctic?  Or is the Polar work split across the Domains according to expertise?   For example, which Domain is responsible for the NOAA science Techs who in work in Greenland?

The Government will be responding to technical questions following the release of draft RFP and at the Domain Industry Days.

  1. Do contractors have to respond to all 5 domains to bid on the overall Indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract?

No. Offerors may choose to propose on one or more domains as befits their capabilities.

  1. If awarded an IDIQ contract can you bid on all 5 domains

No.  You may only compete for tasks within the Domain(s) awarded.

  1. Will the RFPs be released serially and awarded before the next domain is released?

The Government has not determined the release strategy at this time.

  1. Can a given company submit one proposal to be considered for both unrestricted and small business categories?

There is only one pool of contractors within each domain and each proposal within that domain will be categorized according to the size standard associated with that domain.

  1. What will multiple/RFPs mean? Split by domains?

If the Government choses to issue multiple RFPs, it is likely that each RFP will address one or multiple Domains.

  1. To bid on one domain, will you have to bid on all five?

No.  An Offeror can bid on multiple Domains or just one.

  1. Will there be any awards that serve multiple domains?

No, however an Offeror can submit a proposal on more than one domain and can be successful in obtaining an award in more than one Domain.

  1. Please explain in more detail how you envision multiple awards in each of the five domains to work?  Will multiple proposals be required?

Yes.  An Offeror can submit a proposal on more than one domain and can be successful in obtaining an award in more than one Domain.

  1. When will the final RFP be issued? When are awards anticipated?

Please see the Industry Day presentation for a summary of the present schedule.

  1. Will there be oral presentations?

The use of oral presentations as part of the selection process has not been determined at this time.

  1. Will Businesses have to propose in all functional areas of a domain?

Evaluation criteria for each domain have not yet been determined.

  1. Are Key Personnel required for IDIQ?

The Government is in the process of creating the draft RFP and has not determined if the use of key personnel will be required.

  1. Can you prime as a small and sub to a large in the same domain?

Yes.

  1. What is the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code?

Each Domain has a NAICS code.  Please see below.

Pro-Tech NAICS Code Determination

Domain

NAICS Code

Size Standard

Fisheries

541990

$15M

Oceans

541620

$15M

Weather

541330

$15M

Satellites

541712

500 Employees

Enterprise Operations

541611

$15M

 

  1. Will there be a conflict of interest on any Domains if you bid Enterprise Operations?

An award in a domain will not dictate a conflict of interest.  The RFP will address organization conflict of interests (OCI) mitigation.

  1. Will each of the Domains contain a list of unique Labor Categories for pricing purposes?

Yes.  NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

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V.    Category – Subcontracting / Teaming

  1. What are the partnership qualities sought in the prime?

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. Is consideration being given to allowing teaming with various partners who are domain specific?

Yes, this is one of the approaches being considered.  NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. Will you distribute a list of all attendees and points of contact for teaming, joint ventures to address your requirements fully?

The Government will release the full attendee list from each of the Industry Days.

  1. Can joint ventures bid on the ID/IQ?

Yes.

  1. Are you going to establish a platform to facilitate teaming among small-medium-large business bidders?

The Government will release Industry Day attendee lists to facilitate communication among interested participants.

  1. Please discuss your views for Pro-Tech on partnerships primed by large vs small vs medium businesses.

How an Offeror develops their proposal and business relationships is a business decision.

  1. If a small business primes a particular RFQ /opportunity and adds a large business as a sub, would the large business past performance be counted and evaluated as part of the small business proposal?

Each Task Order RFP will set forth the methodology to be employed to evaluate past performance for that requirement.

  1. Will evaluation of Small Business capability for the Task Order Competition focus on the small businesses organic capability, or their ability to field a team?

Each Task Order RFP competition will set forth the methodology to be employed in evaluating proposals for award for that requirement.

  1. Will large and medium business have small business subcontracting requirements?

Yes.

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VI.    Category – Evaluation Factors

  1. Will each requirement (capability) per domain be evaluated separately?  i.e. will the best firm for each capability be identified and offered a contract?

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. What protocols are going to prevent this from becoming a race to the bottom?

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.  However, it is expected that technical capability will be more heavily weighted than price.

  1. Would you consider Pro-Tech to be more of a "Best Value" versus a low bid vehicle, focusing on past performance?

Yes.  Pro-Tech and the individual Task Order competitions within Pro-Tech will generally employ best value selection procedures.

  1. To what degree will past performance center on prime qualifications versus its team members?

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.  The way in which past performance is measured will likely differ between Task Order competitions.

  1. Is existing NOAA past performance/experience considered more relevant than other experience, because NOAA's mission is very unique?

No.

  1. Two Phase Process? Down Select?

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. Will the RFP include sample problems or representative Task Orders (TO) that will be evaluated and scored?

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. Since the performance work statement (PWS) is very broad in scope, what criteria will be most important in making a selection in each domain?

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.  Further information on this topic will be presented at the individual Domain Industry Days.

  1. This sounds like Multiple Award Task Order Contracts (MATOC).  How is it not essentially Lowest Priced Technically Acceptable (LPTA)?

A multiple award contract does not necessitate a LPTA.  Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. Many small businesses do not have existing large IDIQ Master Contracts or high value Technical Orders (TOs).  However, the real measure of a company’s ability to manage these contracts rests with the experience and quality of its staff. Will you consider staff experience as relevant past performance?

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. What will be NOAA’s approach for evaluating the wide array of requirements identified in the Enterprise Operations Domain?

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. When bidding on a Pro-Tech task, can teammate past performance be considered?

Each Task Order RFP will set forth the methodology to be employed to evaluate past performance for that requirement.

  1. Are the Past Performances required only for the Prime or Subs too?  How many Past Performances for the Prime?

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to section L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. As a new HUB Zone engineering business we have little direct past performance.  Will NOAA consider teammate past performance when evaluating proposals?

Currently, NOAA is in the process of formulating our evaluation process.  Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

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VII.    Category – Business Size / Small Business (SB) Awards

  1. What defines a "medium" sized company? How will you identify them without a FAR clause supporting designated award to some?

A medium sized business is other than a small business.

  1. The Pro-Tech industry day special notice stated "multiple IDIQ contracts will be awarded in each domain with an estimated 75% of contract awards reserved for small businesses across all domains."  To clarify is the intent to distribute the SB Awards uniformly across all domains? (i.e. 75% of all IDIQ contracts awarded in each domain will be to SB?)

The intent is to reserve award of 75% of IDIQ contracts to small business in each domain, however the quality of proposals will determine the actual awards.

  1. Are you always going to use Rule of 2?  If so, it is likely that the medium or large will never be able to bid as small, smalls can pull in large to look good on paper.

Yes.  NOAA will comply with statute and regulations in accordance with FAR Part 19 for task order awards, including the applicable limitations on subcontracting provisions.  Historically NOAA has awarded contracts for professional and technical services evenly between small and other than small businesses.

  1. What will NOAA do if they are exceeding the 75% goal and small business are still meeting the rule of 2 on task orders in regards to competing task orders so that large businesses can compete?

The 75% goal only applies to the base IDIQ contract awards, not the task order awards.  NOAA will comply with statute and regulations in accordance with FAR Part 19 for task order awards.  Historically NOAA has awarded contracts for professional and technical services evenly between small and other than small businesses.

  1. Will there be IDIQ contracts reserved for 8(a) participants?
  2. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.  Per 13 CFR 124.503(h)(2) provides the requirement for allowing orders issued to 8(a) participants under Multiple Award Contracts (MAC) that were not set-aside for exclusive competition among eligible 8(a) participants to be considered 8(a) awards.  In order for an order issued to an 8(a) participant and placed against a MAC to be considered an 8(a) award, where the MAC was not initially set-aside, partially set-aside or reserved for exclusive competition among 8(a) participants, the following conditions must be met:

    1. The order must be offered to and accepted into the 8(a) BD program;
    2. The order must be competed exclusively among 8(a) concerns;
    3. The order must require the concern comply with applicable limitations on subcontracting provisions (see §125.6) and the non-manufacturer rule, if applicable, (see §121.406(b)) in the performance of the individual order; and
    4. SBA must verify that a concern is an eligible 8(a) concern prior to award of the order in accordance with §124.507.
  1. How will you determine whether to offer only to small business? Requests for Information (RFI's)?

NOAA will comply with statute and regulations in accordance with FAR Part 19 for task order awards, including conducting appropriate market research among awardees for task orders.

  1. What are the SB thresholds (size) and total % of SBs for a Large Business (to determine SB Plan)?

See Category IV.19 answer.  NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. Is there a Small Business subcontracting goal for large businesses?  If so, is it based on total awarded contract value or total subcontracted value?  How would performance against goal be assessed on an annual awarded contract basis or over the contract Period of Performance?

Yes.  NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to sections L and M of the draft RFP upon release.

  1. The current domains have a limit of $15M.  Based on that, would you consider raising to $27M threshold to get more mature small business access/capabilities?

We cannot arbitrarily raise the size standard.  NOAA chose the NAICS codes that correspond to the preponderance of the requirements in each domain and SBA stipulates the size standard for that category of work.

  1. Enterprise Operations Services domain is tentatively set-aside as small?  How will this introduce mid-tier companies to NOAA?   Would NOAA consider 541712 for this area to allow for mid-tier company participation and still get SB credit?

There will be no set-aside for SB at the IDIQ contract level.  See response to NAICS codes above.

  1. Will Full & Open awarded Task Orders have small business requirements (i.e. 25 – 30%)

Yes.  Small business subcontracting goals have not been determined at this time.

  1. Does the 75% Small Business set-aside apply to ID/IQ’s, Task Orders or both?

The 75% goal is the intent for the IDIQ awards using the reserve feature.  Set-asides for small business may apply at the task order level when determined by the contracting officer.

  1. Define what “reserves for small business” means and maybe you could give an example.

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 defines the process of reserves for small business.

  1. Are Mid-Sized companies included in the 75% of awards?

No.

  1. If a small business is teamed with a large prime, are they eligible for small business task orders?

No, the Small Business must have received an award as a prime.

  1. In regards to the Small Business awards, will you allocate awards for certain socio economic status in each domain?  For example, each domain will have Hub Zone, 8a, WOSB, etc.

NOAA intends to do so.

  1. How do you intend to make the determination as to whether a given task order will be set aside for small business or solicited full and open?

The process will follow the requirements of FAR 19.

  1. Do you have a Mentor Protégé Program? 

No. 

  1. For small business do have you have quotas for WOSB, SDVOSB set asides?

NOAA has established annual small business goals for each socio-economic category.

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VIII.    Category – Number of Awards

  1. How many unrestricted and how many small business awards will be made in each domain?

A predetermined number of awards have not been established at this time.

  1. How many awards overall in each domain?

 The number of awards has not been established.

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IX.    Category – Other related Contracts / Acquisitions

  1. In the previous draft RFP, there were requirements for National Centers for Environmental Prediction's (NCEP) Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) & and many others NCEP centers.  But now, NCEP EMC is being re-competed independently.  Will NCEP services still be included in Pro-Tech?

Yes.

  1. Can you differentiate between the upcoming acquisition strategies for Pro-Tech vs. Sci-Tech re-compete?

Sci-Tech requirements will be included in the Pro-Tech program.  There will be a logical transition of Sci-Tech into the Pro-Tech program.

  1. Will Pro-Tech be the sole Contracting Vehicle for NOAA going forward?

No.  Pro-Tech only covers professional and technical services.

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X.   Category – Contract Structure

  1. Is NOAA going to possibly consider modeling this vehicle in any way similar to the General Services Administration (GSA) One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) vehicle?

No.

  1. How would two different domains use the contract? (e.g., Fisheries and Oceans both have over-lapping and blended work forces.

Each Domain will have a portfolio of contracts that will be focused on the requirements of that Domain.  The requirements or the preponderance thereof, may dictate which Domain portfolio is used.  

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XI.     Category – Contract Administration

  1. Does NOAA intend to bid individual Task Orders among contractors within a domain?

Yes.

  1. Will this contract mechanism replace all current IDIQ contracts even if the contract is set to expire in 2016 and re-procurement is currently planned?

Pro-Tech will be the mandatory program for all professional and technical service requirements within NOAA.  There will be a logical transition of existing contract work to Pro-Tech.  There will be a process for new contracts outside Pro-Tech as required.

  1. If we identify an opportunity to work with NOAA on a specific project, can the NOAA project manager reach us directly through this contract?

Awards will be made in accordance with regulation utilizing fair opportunity and other authorized procedures as applicable.

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XII.    Category – Program Management Office (PMO)

  1. Will NOAA consider having a similar model of a separate strategic support contract for a PMO for Pro-Tech and Pro-tech just address the 5 domains?

No.

  1. Who are the current government persons that make up the Pro-Tech Acquisition & Program Team?

The NOAA Acquisition and Grants Office is in the process of hiring additional contracting personnel to support the Pro-Tech program.  Announcements on Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) will indicate the appropriate point of contact for relevant actions.

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XIII.   Category – NOAALink

  1. How will NOAALink be merged into Pro-Tech?  Will NOAALink be able to issue and award new task orders in FY-18 and FY-19?

NOAALink will not be merged into Pro-Tech.  Pro-Tech is for non-IT requirements.

  1. How will this work with NOAALink? Will it be a competing contact with NOAALink? Or will NOAALink become a hardware procurement vehicle and Pro-Tech be the services procurement vehicle?

The NOAALink portfolio provides for IT services while Pro-Tech will provide for non-IT professional and technical service requirements.

  1. Will there be any IT requirements in Pro-Tech?

The appropriate program for award will be determined by the preponderance of requirements and security concerns.

  1. Still some confusion regarding IT content in Pro-Tech.  Bottom line, if my company is purely IT services focused, is there likely to be a role for me within the Pro-Tech scope as a team-member (i.e. not as a prime.)

There may be some project related IT efforts within scope of the Pro-Tech contracts as long as it is determined not to be the preponderance of work.

  1. Can someone explain for us the difference between the Pro-Tech contract interpretations of IT Services verses Technology Services conveyed in the draft solicitation.  We are an Oracle Partner firm and trying to determine the difference.

The NOAALink portfolio provides for IT services while Pro-Tech will provide for non-IT professional and technical service requirements.  See answer to question 4 above.

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XIV.   Category – Department of Commerce (DOC)

  1. Will other DOC bureaus be allowed to use Pro-Tech?

Yes.

  1. Given that the contract vehicle will be available for use across DOC; might it make sense to raise the ceiling?

No increase in the ceiling is required.

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XV.      Category – General

  1. Are contract holders going to have access to the end users on an opportunity basis? On many DOC contracts, contracting officers will deny contract holder’s access to end users. This generally causes delays or requirements that are vague, which means it makes it quite difficult for contract holders to respond with accurate or technically acceptable responses.

Yes.

  1. How are you planning to fulfill the administrative services under Pro-Tech or not?

Enterprise Domain and each Domain SOW will contain some administrative services appropriate to support mission needs.

  1. Will the Government consider requiring the OCI Plan in advance of the proposal due date?

Yes.

  1. Are the domains representative of the line offices or functional offices? (Ex. Where does the various offices of National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) lie? Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR)?)

Line Offices.  Please refer to the draft RFP upon release for requirements in each domain.

  1. What will be the typical task order value under the space domain?

Historically the range has been from several thousand to multi-million dollars for relevant contracts and task orders.

  1. Will Pro-Tech scope be so broad that it negates niche skills of small business?

Pro-Tech will attempt to preserve needed niche skills of small business at both the prime and subcontract levels.  The scope for each domain has not been determined.

  1. How will niche specialty firms secure a contract in their niche area only? (Within a domain)?

IDIQ contracts will not be awarded by niche areas but only within domains.  NOAA intends that the domain competition will permit small businesses to successfully compete for an IDIQ award.

  1. Would your hope for “long term” relationships include direct or sole source of Task Orders for follow on work?

Task order awards will be made in accordance with requirements, regulations utilizing fair opportunity, and other authorized procedures as applicable.

  1. Are you considering Awardable TO’s?  Makes Bid and Proposal (B&P) justification easier for Small Businesses.

NOAA is currently in the process of formulating our requirements and evaluation process. Please refer to the draft RFP upon release for requirements.

  1. Will there be a requirement for small businesses to have a Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) compliant accounting system?

Cost-type task orders are anticipated and an approved accounting system is required for a cost-type task order award.

  1. Since it is a 2 year Base with 3-One Year Options, will a small business have to recertify as small after the Base?

A small business will be considered a small business thru the life of the contract unless one of the following exceptions apply –

    1. Novation
    2. Merger or Acquisition
  1. Will the questions that are sent to the Pro-Tech email box be shared with the public?

Yes.

  1. Would you consider awarding Enterprise Domain as one of the first contracts awarded given there is a PMO function as well as other administrative functional requirements contained in the Domain?

The order of awards has not been determined.

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