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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

DISA has hefty small biz requirements for $11.7B IT contract

The Defense Information Systems Agency's $11.7 billion Defense Enclave Services contract will include a deluge of small business requirements that will be the deciding factor on who the ultimate winner is.

Known as DES, the 10-year contract is DISA’s effort to move all so-called Fourth Estate defense agencies onto a single IT infrastructure known as DoDNET. A final solicitation is expected in September and the award for late 2021.

DISA will evaluate small business requirements will be evaluated separately. When DISA determines the top bidder, it will then turn to the small business plan that will be graded as acceptable or unacceptable.

If the plan is acceptable, the company will win. An unacceptable evaluation will knock the bidder out of the competition. DISA will then move to the next highest score.

In their proposals, bidders will need to submit both a subcontracting plan and a small business commitment document.

The subcontracting plan is only required for large businesses that are bidding as primes, but the small business commitment document is required of all bidders regardless of size.

The subcontracting plan will be reviewed by the contracting officer, DOD’s small business office and a Small Business Administration Procurement Center representative.

Subcontracting goals will be measured against the amount of work the prime will be subcontracting. That plan will be incorporated into the contract.

But the commitment document is something different and is relatively new in the market, Carlen Capenos, the director of DISA’s Office of Small Business Programs, said during her presentation to industry.

“One of the major differences between the subtracting plan and the commitment document is that this document utilizes a total acquisition value,” Capenos said. “This document for the winning offeror will also be incorporated into your contract and failure to meet what you have proposed and what’s been accepted can affect your CPARS rating.”

The solicitation will include what Capenos called “aggressive” small business goals. Those goals are being referred to as Minimum Quantitative Requirements, or MQRs.

One reason DES will have a substantial small business component is that many of the contracts being consolidated into DES are held currently by small businesses, she said.

“We still want to ensure we are executing the policy of making maximum practical opportunities available to small business and we will be doing this through this small business commitment document,” Capenos said.

If a bidder can’t meet those goals in their proposal, they need to be able to explain why and how they plan to maximize small business opportunities over the life of the contract, she said.

The commitment document needs to include specific scopes of work to be set aside for specific small business contractors. The document needs to include signed teaming agreements as well as demonstrable success in working with small businesses, Capenos said.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Aug 27, 2020 at 9:43 AM

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