Update as of January 10, 2017: The Air Force has confirmed that SBEAS will be a 100% set-aside. Importantly, SBEAS will implement a new SBA rule regarding subcontracting: a small-business prime contractor who subcontracts the first-tier to a “similarly situated entity” — that is, a similar small-business in the same SBA program — that work will not be counted towards the subcontracting work percentage limitations. This is an attempt to spark cooperation between small-businesses in the same program, and keep small-businesses from being penalized for cooperating with other members of small-business programs. The Air Force now expects to release a Draft RFP in April 2017, with contracts awards in the 1st Quarter of FY18.
Update: See our additional information below regarding the Draft RFP released on March 23rd by the Air Force. The Air Force will be holding another industry day on April 10, followed by a final RFP in July. From April 11th to April 14th, 2017 the Air Force will be holding One-on-One sessions after the Industry Day with eligible small businesses. For more information, see here.
Update as of July 31, 2017: In June, the Air Force released a 2nd Draft RFP for the SBEAS opportunity. This was followed by a question and answer period for the 2nd draft earlier this month. The main question that many companies had was in regard to government Facility Clearance Levels (FCLs) and how they relate to both the IDIQ and the Joint Venture’s (JVs) that many companies appear to be embarking on. The Air Force stated that while an FCL is not required at the IDIQ level for awards, scoring points will be awarded to those who hold an FCL. However, when applied to a Joint Venture, the JV itself must have an FCL, not just the separate companies who are partnering. This may be difficult for the JVs working together specifically for this opportunity, but the FCL is an option and not a requirement in order to be awarded a spot in SBEAS.
Update as of October 6, 2017: Last week, the Air Force released the final RFP for SBEAS, with a base performance period of 5 years and a single 5-year option. Proposals are due on October 31st.
Update as of April 9, 2018: On April 6th, the Air Force released a status update on the SBEAS procurement, which included moving the anticipated award date to the 3rd quarter of Fiscal Year 2019. While the Air Force expressed surprise at the high number of responses received, they also seemed to express frustration that some offerors still failed to comply with the solicitation and evaluation criteria after extensive industry interaction during the procurement process. The Air Force took that sentiment even further, describing the 8 protests filed so far as being avoidable “if the protesting offerors had simply taken the time to follow the instructions.”
On November 30th, the Air Force will hold an SBEAS Vendor Industry Day to discuss the successor to the NETCENTS-2 Application Services Small Business vehicle, a massive opportunity with a ceiling of almost $1 billion. In total, NETCENTS-2 allowed for small business opportunities totaling $10.5 billion, with $24 billion in total. Known as Small Business Enterprise Applications Solutions (SBEAS), the goal of the new program will be to “provide a wide range of Information Technology Network Centric solutions that support the IT lifecycle to include legacy operational and sustainment activities, reengineering of legacy capabilities into target architectures, environments, and infrastructures.” If it is to follow in the footsteps of NETCENTS-2, it’s important for potential SBEAS suppliers to understand the details and implications of that contested opportunity.
NETCENTS-2: Application Services SB
NETCENTS-2 Application Services was one of five main contract vehicles for the successor program to NETCENTS, which stopped taking orders at the end of FY13. In addition to $980 million in full and open awards for Application Services, the NETCENTS-2 Application Services SB opportunity was a 100% set-aside totaling $960 million for small businesses as a multiple-award IDIQ. The NETCENTS-2 Application Services acquisition provided a vehicle for customers to access a wide range of services such as sustainment, migration, integration, training, help desk support, testing and operational support. This contract also included the support of legacy system sustainment, migration and the development of new mission capabilities and applications.
How SBEAS May Shape up:
Two important indicators may help you decide if this opportunity is right for your company: NETCENTS-2 Application Services SB included 12 awardees, some of them holding multiple statuses. 8 of the awardees held 8(a) status, 3 held SB status, 3 held WOSB status, 3 held VOSB status, and 2 of those awardees held VDOSB status. Current research shows that SBEAS will use the NAICS code 541511 Custom Computer Programming Services for this acquisition vehicle. According to the SBA, this NAICS code has a small business standard of $27.5 million.
The Draft RFP
The Air Force released a draft RFP on March 23rd, which described the specific technical goals for services under this contract. Objectives include:
- Life-Cycle Software Services, which include: database development, system engineering, and mobile/internet of things (IOT) application development.
- Supporting IT Services, which include: business analysis, service desks, and field support.
- “Supporting Systems Within Various Computing Environments,” meaning the support of: Air Force networks, DISA networks, hybrid cloud environments, and other DOD-related networks.
Broader objectives emphasize cybersecurity and privacy protection regulations, the use of only approved Government-off-the-Shelf (GOTS) tools, Commercial-off-theShelf (COTS) tools and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to meet requirements. The Period of Performance has been set with a 5-year base period, and two 5-year options, for a 10-year ordering period and 15-year total period of performance. Potential contracts will have to submit a self-scoring worksheet which will be based on Technical Verification Forms which describe contractor experience with 10 specific technical areas including cybersecurity, COTS product support, and server operating systems.
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