Archives for November 09

Nov 2, 2009

According to Washington Technology and research by Input, this list ranks the 20 largest and most important contracts that will hit the market in 2010. The services range from information technology to satellite communications to research and development to logistics support. Many contracts are valued in the billions. These contracts will be highly sought after by a variety of government contractors. Look for more coverage and teaming opportunities as the year unfolds. Contact the incumbents (when applicable) and submit your interest and capabilities brief.

1. Criminal Justice Program Support
2. Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions II

3. Connections
4. Strategic Services Sourcing
5. Communications and Transmission Systems Program
6. Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners 3
7. NetCents II
8. Compass DOD Enterprise Software Initiative
9. Future Commercial SatCom Acquisitions
10. Common Hardware Systems 4
11. System Engineering and Technical Assistance Research and Development
12. Defense Information Systems Network Global Services Management
13. Special Operations Forces Information Enterprise
14. Design and Engineering Support Program 3
15. Information Technology Support Services IV
16. Support Services
17. Continental U.S. Support Base Services II
18. Field Training Systems Support III
19. Global Combat Support System
20. Information Assurance Support Services

For a brief of the top 20 contracts and full article

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Nov 3, 2009

United States Africa Command, AFRICOM, one of six of the Defense Department's regional military headquarters, was declared a fully unified command on October 1, 2008. As such, Africa Command has administrative responsibility for U.S. military support to U.S. government policy in Africa, to include military-to-military relationships with 53 African nations. The other five regional commands and their locations are: U.S. Central Command, Tampa, Florida; U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany; U.S. Northern Command, Colorado Springs, Colorado; U.S. Pacific Command, Honolulu, Hawaii; and U.S. Southern Command, Miami, Florida.

Commander: General William E. "Kip" Ward, United States Army
Deputy to the Commander for Military Operations:
Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller, United States Navy
Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities:
Ambassador Tony Holmes, United States Department of State

Chain of Command: The commander of Africa Command reports to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, who reports to the President of the United States. In individual countries, U.S. Ambassadors continue to be the President's personal representatives in diplomatic relations with host nations.

AFRICOM Mission: United States Africa Command, in concert with other U.S. government agencies and international partners, conducts sustained security engagement through military-to-military programs, military-sponsored activities, and other military operations as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of U.S. foreign policy.

Partnering with African Nations: Through strong and lasting strategic partnerships with African partners and by delivering sustained, effective, and coherent security cooperation programs, U.S. Africa Command helps foster a more stable and secure Africa:

* where military organizations perform professionally and with integrity;
* that promotes legitimate and professional security institutions;
* that has the will and means to direct, dissuade, deter and defeat transnational threats;
* and whose militaries and governments are increasingly capable of supporting continental and international peace efforts.

U.S. Africa Command's theater strategic objectives:

* Defeat the Al-Qaeda terrorist organizations and its associated networks;

* Ensure peace operations capacity exists to respond to emerging crises, and continental peace support operations are effectively fulfilling mission requirements;
* Cooperate with identified African states in the creation of an environment inhospitable to the unsanctioned possession and proliferation on WMD;

* Improve security sector governance and increased stability through military support to comprehensive, holistic and enduring USG efforts in designated states;

* Protect populations from deadly contagions.

Personnel: U.S. Africa Command projects a staff of 1,300 personnel for its headquarters and joint subordinate activities, half of whom are civilian employees, including representatives from non-military agencies of the U.S. government. As of September 1, 2009, more than 1,200 personnel were assigned.

Location: Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart-Moehringen, Germany. In the near term, AFRICOM will focus on working with Embassies, Country Teams, and Offices of Defense Cooperation to strengthen existing military-to-military relationships. If our African partners and the U.S. government agree that further cooperation would benefit from a more robust Africa Command presence, we will consult accordingly and determine the best way to proceed.

Funding: The U.S. Africa Command transition team was budgeted for approximately $50 million in Fiscal Year 2007, and the command received $75.5 million for Fiscal Year 2008 and $310 million for Fiscal Year 2009. The Obama administration has requested $278 million for U.S. Africa Command for Fiscal Year 2010.

Supporting the U.S. Department of State: U.S. Africa Command supports the U.S. Department of State in the achievement of US foreign policy objectives in Africa. In addition and where appropriate, U.S. Africa Command provides personnel and logistical support to State Department-funded activities. Command personnel work closely with U.S. embassies in Africa to coordinate training programs to improve African nations’ security capacity. Read full article.

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Nov 17, 2009

In a survey of government contractors, Deltek Inc. has found some faults in the conventional wisdom about today’s market.

The survey covered questions about growth, business strategies, policy issues and operational issues facing contractors in the government market.

Nearly 250 people completed the 60-question survey, which will be presented at Deltek’s Clarity ’09 conference in Tysons Corner, Va., to be held Nov. 17.

5 Myths Busted

Myth 1: The government contractor growth rates are decreasing.
Reality: The sector is still growing, with larger firms in the survey are experiencing better growth rates than expected, on the order of 10 percent.

Myth 2 : The merger and acquisition market is active and vibrant.
Realtiy: More than 85 percent of large firms surveyed did not indicate any definite M&A plans for 2010.

Myth 3 : Project management is a mature discipline among large firms.
Realtiy : The discipline is less mature than one would think. Only 11 percent of large companies thought that their project management was very mature, and the larger the company, the more likely they were to report a lower level of confidence in their project status confidence.

Myth 4 : Big firms do things faster and more efficiently.
Reality: The industry average invoicing cycle of a large firm is 12.6 days, while the cycle of a smaller firm is four times shorter.

Myth 5 : In this new age, the Defense Contract Audit Agency has adopted a more confrontational stance with contractors.
Reality: Surprisingly, the survey found that not to be the case, with more than 83 percent of contractors that were recently audited saying that the relationship was “good” or “excellent”. The vast majority said it was actually improving.  Read full article


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Nov 18, 2009

Five-year task order is worth $38 million to Melbourne, Fla., contractor. Harris Corp. will continue working with the Army to improve command security and operations in Central America under a five-year task order worth $38 million.

The Information Technology Enterprise Solutions-2 Services (ITES-2S) award calls for Harris to assist the U.S. Southern Command’s Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems (C4S) operations and maintenance program for Joint Task Force-Bravo at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.

JTF-Bravo is the commander of all U.S. military operations in Central America.

Under the contract, Harris and its team will continue to service JTF-Bravo’s C4 systems and networks, including supporting network and telecommunications help desk customer services, a Nov. 17 company announcement said.

The contracting team also will provide C4S installation and upgrade services, information assurance and computer network defense, telecommunications and circuit management, as well as manage microwave communications systems, including power production at remote microwave sites.

This critical infrastructure program supports the commander of JTF-Bravo in the execution of USSOUTHCOM’s strategy to build partner-nation capacity. It is intended to bolster security, stability and prosperity in the Americas, the announcement explained.

The contracting team consists of Harris’ IT Services unit, Harris Communications Honduras, Charter Trading Company, STG Inc., and Smartronix.

Harris, of Melbourne, Fla., ranks No. 13 on Washington Technology’s 2009 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors. Full Article:

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Nov 19, 2009

Contract will cover 10 task areas, including biomedical and health care IT support. The National Institutes of Health is preparing a solicitation for a small business contract to buy a broad variety of information technology services for health care and biomedical research.

The NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center posted a draft request for proposals on Nov. 16 on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site for a small business set-aside governmentwide acquisition contract.

The contract would be among the successors to two current GWACs expiring in December 2010: the Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 2 Innovations (CIO-SP2i) and to the Image World 2 New Dimensions. Vendors are invited to provide comment on the draft RFP by Nov. 30.

The government is not soliciting proposals from vendors at this time. However, the agency will consider comments for developing the final RFP for the CIO-SP3 Small Business set-aside GWAC.

The procurement vehicle will cover 10 task areas, including support for bioinformatics, electronic health records and the Federal Health Architecture. Details on each of the task areas are published in the 137-page statement of work.

The 10 areas are IT services for biomedical research and health care; chief information officer support; imaging; outsourcing support; IT operations and maintenance; integration services; critical infrastructure protection and information assurance; digital government services; enterprise management systems and software development.

NIH has several other IT projects in the works. The National Cancer Institute recently advertised for an informatics expert to harmonize cancer data, and the National Library of Medicine is distributing a mapping tool to standardize electronic health data. Full Article

Tags: Nih Gwac
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Nov 19, 2009

But it is good to review the basics. So attention is required to understand how Veteran Owned Businesses can grow by leveraging your commanding position in the government procurement process.

All Veteran Owned Small Businesses are included in large corporations’ small business plans under FAR 52.219.9. Why is that important? Ninety-five (95%) percent of all large businesses sell to the U.S. Government. As part of the government procurement process, the large prime contractors are required to submit and negotiate a subcontracting plan that separately addresses subcontracting with small businesses specifically Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) expressly states that this plan shall be included in and made a part of the resultant prime contract that the large business enters into with the U.S. Government. Failure to submit and negotiate the subcontracting plan shall make the large business offeror ineligible for award of a contract. This plan shall include goals expressed in terms of percentages of total planned subcontracting dollars. This subcontracting plan must be flowed down (incorporated in the subcontract to their subcontractors) to second tier contractors that are also large businesses if the contract from the prime contractor is in excess of $550,000 ($1 million for construction). Remember the FAR governs all federal agencies, hence the large corporations must make a good faith effort to comply.

Another regulation, FAR 52.219-27 – Notice of Total Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Set-Aside reads more like orders, than direction.

The government “may” set aside certain contracts for SDVOSBs. Only SDVOSBs are allowed to compete for these “set aside” contracts. Even though the decision to make a SDVOSB set aside is discretionary (not required), the Comptroller General has given the statute a broader meaning by applying SBA regulations that direct the contracting officer (“should”) to consider the propriety of a SDVOSB set aside before proceeding with a small business set aside (13 CFR 125.19). One can safely assume that the “may” is not entirely permissive, and the Contracting Officer must consider setting an acquisition aside for SDVOSB before setting it aside for small business in general (MCS Portable Restroom Service Group, Comp. Gen. Dec.B-299291). FAR 19.1405 further instructs the contracting officer that in order to set aside these contracts for SDVOSB companies, he must have a reasonable expectation that offers will be received from two or more SDVOSBs and the award will be made at a fair market price. However, if the contracting officer receives only one acceptable offer from SDVOSB in response to this set-aside, the contracting officer should make an award to that firm. The Comptroller General reaffirms the sole source award even when the contracting officer does not have a reasonable expectation that two or more SDVOSBs would submit a bid, by stating “FAR should be read consistent with the SBA regulations” and to find otherwise would frustrate the intent of the Veteran’s Benefits Act of 2003.

FAR 19.1406 codifies sole source awards to SDVOSB with certain caveats: (1) the requirement can be satisfied only by one SDVOSB, (2) the award will be less than $3 Million ($5.5 Million for manufacturing), (3) SDVOSB is a responsible contractor (the SDVOSB can perform the contract), and (4) the price is reasonable.

The element requiring the contracting officer to determine that only one SDVOSB can fulfill the contract can be successfully established by the contracting officer by documenting the unique characteristics of the firm itself. True, this write-up is an added requirement for the Contracting Officer beyond that outlined in the 8a sole source program, but not a deal breaker!

The government buys unique parts and services all the time. I am certain an SDVOSB business can assist the government in understanding what makes his/her company’s goods or services unique from other competitors by writing a short narrative for the file. Whenever there are set-aside contracts, there are rules. The Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business concern agrees that in the performance of the contract, in the case of a contract for:

(1) Services – at least 50% of the personnel cost will be spent by SDVOSB awardee or employees of another SDVOSB company.

(2) Manufactured Supplies – 50% of the cost of manufacture (excluding materials) will be performed by SDVOSB firm (awardee) or other SDVOSB firms.

(3) General Construction – 15% of SDVOSB (awardee) personnel cost or other SDVOSB firms.

(4) Special Trades – 25% of SDVOSB personal cost.

(5) Dealers, distributors, or wholesalers can offer a product manufactured 100% by a small business in the US.

(6) Joint venture rules apply equally to SDVOSB contracts and they are discussed in this newsletter.

The Veterans Administration is an agency that marches to a different drummer. The needs of their clients, the soldiers, demand that they lead in this effort. Their regulations are more inclusive of all Veteran Owned Businesses. The VA requires Veteran-Owned Business to be registered in VetBiz. The VA’s unique regulations allow the VA buyers to sole source to SDVOSB if price is less than $5 Million, with the same requirements of responsibility and the award at a fair reasonable price as in the FAR regulations. However, if no responsible SDV is identified, the VA Buyer may sole source to a Veteran Small Business. That is an incredible opportunity for all who served!

Teamwork, off the battlefield has a different meaning when selling to the US government. When an VOSB bids on a contract, he likes to have his friends covering his back. The soldier’s training, trust and experience ultimately effects the way he does business. The government takes this commonsense approach to surviving and turns it around, so listen-up!

When an VOSB proposes to enlist the assistance of other businesses to perform a set-aside contract, the Contracting Officer must apply the law so that one company is not in a more advantageous position. Let’s say one VOSB would like to team with The IBM Corporation. The other VOSB who is bidding the contract is using a small business with experience, but not on the level of an IBM. That would be unfair! Remember, part of the definition of a VOSB or SDVOSB is SMALL!

The government has rules as to team members, even when the existence of a team is not obvious to all the bidders. The Small Business Administration applies these “affiliation” rules when reviewing joint ventures, teaming agreements, or subcontracts. If the VOSB’s partner or subcontractor performs primary and vital requirements, they can be determined to be acting jointly and thus affiliated. The SBA adds both companies’ employees or revenue together to determine if they are small. Consequently, if the above criteria is met, the Veteran Owned Small Business who teams with the large business is deemed to be affiliated and not small.

This affiliation also could occur when there are two or more small businesses that team for a job. The government would add their revenue (service companies) or employees (manufacturing companies) together to determine if the VOSB bidder is SMALL.

But there are exceptions when two or more small businesses decide to team and the government allows them to compete as small without combining the companies’ revenue or employees.

So long as each concern is small under the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to the contract, they will remain unaffiliated and small in the following cases:

1. When SVOSB/SDVOSB bids with any other Small Business for a bundled contract, at any dollar value as described in 13 CFR 121.125.2(d)(1)(i).

2. When the dollar value of a revenue-based (services) procurement (including options) is more than half the size standard associated with the NAICS code governing the procurement. Example: A solicition with an estimated value of $4 M. with a NAICS code size standard of $6.5M.

3. For manufacturers (size based on employees), if the procurement exceeds 10 M.

Reference Full article:

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Nov 19, 2009

The NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is performing a technical assessment to form the basis of a possible proposal for the NASA Science Mission Directorate DiscoveryProgram opportunity. This assessment is focused on conducting scientific exploration ofthe planet Mars using ARES, a robotic aerial platform (ARES: Aerial Regional-scaleEnvironmental Surveyor).The purpose of this announcement is to enable LaRC to obtain potential providers toparticipate in the development of the technical concept, proposal, and mission elementimplementation of several mission areas in response to the upcoming NASA DiscoveryProgram Announcement of Opportunity (AO). Specific mission areas where LaRC is seekingassistance include:(1) The ARES Science Team.(2) ARES Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) Team(3) Design and development of the aerial platform structures and mechanisms subsystemincluding the composite airframe, associated hinging and latching mechanisms, and controlsurfaces. (4) Design and development of the liquid rocket propulsion subsystem for the aerialplatform. (5) Design and development of the command and data handling, flight software, and thenavigation sensors (only for entry and flight over Mars). (6) Design and development of the telecommunications subsystem for the aerialplatform and entry system.(7) Design and development of two complete cameras.Discovery Program investigations address NASAs planetary science goals as described inSolar System Exploration, NASAs 2006 roadmap for planetary science. The roadmap may befound at . While Discovery investigations may focus on any body in the Solar System, excluding the Earth and the Sun, and including Mars and the Moon, the ARES synopsis focuses on the exploration of Mars. Discovery investigations will be led by a Principal Investigator and will be comprised of scientists in partnerships, potentially involving NASA Centers, academia, and industry.These teams will pursue missions of high scientific value utilizing observation platforms of their choice and design.Release of a draft Discovery AO is expected by the end of CY 2009. It is anticipatedthat approximately two to three Discovery investigations will be selected for 9-month Phase A concept studies.  Read Full

Tags: Nasa Teaming
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