GSA unveils solicitation for $50B STARS III vehicle

On the heels of pulling the plug on one small business IT contract, the General Services Administration formally starts bidding for the 8(a) STARS III $50 billion vehicle.

On the heels of pulling the plug on one small business IT contract, the General Services Administration has formally kicked off the bidding for another similar $50 billion vehicle the agency says will help fill the void.

GSA on Monday issued the final solicitation for STARS III, the next iteration of its Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resource for Services program reserved for small businesses with the 8(a) designation.

All proposals are due by 3 p.m. Eastern time on Aug. 5. Before that, questions regarding the request for proposals must be received by GSA no later than 3 p.m. Eastern time on July 29.

STARS III will have a $50 billion ceiling over a five-year base period and up to three individual option years after that. GSA’s release of the final solicitation comes less than a week after the agency cancelled the $15 billion Alliant 2 Small Business vehicle for IT services and solutions after a court ruling against those awards and an attempted redo not going very far.

In that Alliant 2 SB announcement, GSA said it is working on a new approach to government-wide contracts for small businesses and recommended firms look to other IT contract vehicles such as STARS II and VETS 2 in the meantime.

GSA added $7 billion to the ceiling for STARS II in June to add more runway for the follow-on. New task orders can be placed against STARS II through Aug. 30, 2021 and work can take place through June 30, 2022.

STARS III will be slightly different from the current version in that it will put more emphasis on performance outside the continental U.S. in addition to emerging technology requirements.

Areas of work will include data management, information and communications technology, IT operations and maintenance, IT security, software development, and IT system design.

One item GSA highlighted in the STARS III solicitation regarding IT security is the Defense Department’s ongoing roll-out of the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework to audit and certify contractors for their cyber practices.

CMMC is currently only a DOD requirement. But GSA said it could also be used as a baseline for future civilian acquisitions, so companies interested in STARS III should prepare for and participate in acquiring those certifications.

DOD is a heavy user of STARS II at $1.8 billion in obligated sales out of $10.8 billion total across all agencies, according to GSA's GWAC Dashboard that tracks activity on such vehicles.