What does this tight response deadline tell us?

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A new request for information out of the Veterans Affairs' IT office makes me wonder if the VA has unstated reasons for creating such a short window for responses.

I’ve covered the government contracting market for more than two decades now but there is much more that I don’t know about.

So for 2023, I resolve to let curiosity be my guide for what I write about.

This is what I’m curious about today. The Office of IT at Veterans Affairs released a request for information for “senior technical strategy services.”

VA OIT is using the RFI to help develop priorities to support the Veterans Benefits Administration, Veterans Health Administration and the National Cemetery Administration. Those three agencies make up the bulk of what VA does.

The RFI's goal is pretty straight forward: help the agencies improve performance and effectiveness through IT.

The RFI was released Dec. 23 and responses are due Jan. 5, which is an extension from the original due date of Dec. 29.

That timeline piqued my curiosity. Why such a tight window, particularly given the holiday break? I’ve asked the VA about that, but am not confident of much a response.

So I ask here -- Am I reading too much into such a quick turnaround?

I’ve often been told that if you are hearing about something for the first time through an RFI, it’s already too late. If that’s the case, perhaps its not a big deal.

But it gnaws at me a bit. If agencies do not care much about responses, then why issue an RFI? Why waste that time?

My cynical side thinks that VA already knows how they want to award the contract and to whom. By the way, Deltek says this is a new opportunity so there is no incumbent.

If my cynical side is right, then the VA is just going through the motions.

As I said though, there is a lot I don’t understand about government contracting and this could just be the latest example. If I’m way off base, please tell me. I’ll update this post.

If I hear back from VA, I’ll let you know what they say as well.