Inside NOAA's $3B PROTECH contract opportunity

NOAA director details source selection process

With the request for proposals for its $3 billion PROTECH contract fast approaching, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has become more vocal about the source selection process and what contractors should focus on in order to be a winner.

PROTECH’s RFP is estimated by Deltek to be released in October, and NOAA’s Mitchel J. Ross, director, acquisition and grants office, spoke Wednesday morning at a Deltek industry event to explain why the agency created this contract.

“We are aware that there are multiple GWACs and contract vehicles out there that we could have gone through, but we feel that none are tailored to our enterprise and how we go to market,” Ross said.

PROTECH is focused on five domains: ocean, weather, fish, satellite technology and enterprise/infrastructure services.

“It’s more than systems engineering and technical assistance, it’s more than staff augmentation; it’s delivering professional and technical services in a way that allows us to deliver better services,” Ross said.

As for which domain contractors should bid on, Ross said that while satellite technology and weather have historically been the largest domains, NOAA currently has a priority to receive help in the enterprise/infrastructure services domain.

The contract will be strategically sourced because NOAA wants to establish relationships with a smaller number of suppliers. As of now, the agency has over 10,000 separate suppliers engaged in over 14,000 transactions annually. “That is far too many for us to establish a client relationship, so we want to reduce the number of suppliers, and we want to establish a more cohesive relationship in that client base,” Ross said.

PROTECH will be bid full and open with reserves for small businesses; that said, the list of winners will be a mix of awards to large and small businesses.

NOAA will be looking at three things in particular from the proposals:

  • Approach: how the contractor will perform and manage the job.
  • Past Performance: a dual measure of the quality of your past performance and the relevance of your experience.
  • Price.

Ross said that price does not mean the dreaded lowest price, yechnically scceptable, or LPTA-type procurement. NOAA realizes that it is not asking for commodities, but valuable professional and technical services, and is treating PROTECH accordingly, he said.

The agency is also placing emphasis on teaming arrangements. “For us, what we’re really interested in is teams that are crafted for purpose with specific roles for the members. It does no good to have a team that has no coherence,” Ross said.

The ceiling on the contract will be between $2.5 billion and $3 billion.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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