If you pursued the Department of Commerce (DOC) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NOAALink program, whether successfully or unsuccessfully, over the course of its 9-year acquisition history, be aware that NOAALink 2.0 has been laid to rest. At the August 30, 2017 NOAALink Executive Industry Council Quarterly Meeting, the agency announced the birth of a new multiple award 10-year IDIQ vehicle, NOAA Enterprise and Mission IT Services (NEMITS), to replace the existing NOAALink contract as well as the originally proposed NOAALink 2.0.
Deltek has identified this $2.5B+ IDIQ as a Top 10 Small Business (SB) Opportunity for FY18. NOAA is currently reviewing responses to a June Strategic Sourcing Acquisition Division (SSAD) Request for Information (RFI) issued on behalf of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and conducting outreach to agency program offices to finalize requirements.
Current status of NOAALink
The NOAALink Core IDIQ has been a highly successful vehicle for DOC enterprise-wide IT services. The Core Management Components include Customer Care, Infrastructure Management, Business Management, and Information Security and Risk Management. The agency awarded more than 1,800 task orders to the SB and 8(a) contract holders totaling more than $700M to date. Note that the Strategic Management Services (SMS) component is a separate Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) $49M award under GSA IT Schedule 70.
The NOAALink Core IDIQ has been so successful that many of the original awardees have outgrown the size standard and/or are no longer 8(a). NOAA conducted an on-ramp of additional small businesses last January, adding Synaptek Corporation, GAMA-1 Technologies, Reston Consulting Group, and SM Resources Corporation to the vehicle on December 30, 2016. All NOAALink contracts expire in 2020.
Despite originally planning to release an 8(a) NOAALink on-ramp RFP in August 2016, NOAA announced that this requirement would be part of the new acquisition strategy. In the meantime, with original awardees graduated and the 8(a) $300M ceiling nearly met, the agency has stated they will use other existing 8(a) vehicles as a placeholder. However, they also noted that the existing 8(a) requirement will remain 8(a) when recompeted under NEMITS.
Also of note, NOAA has no plans to include an Unrestricted Track in the NEMITS acquisition. Under NOAALink, the agency had issued an Unrestricted RFP but never awarded any contracts.
The future of NEMITS
NEMITS will eventually replace NOAALink and include wider scope, encompassing both the Core and SMS requirements. It will be competed under the 541519 Other Computer Related Services NAICS with a size standard of $27.5M. NOAA conducted outreach and gathered requirements from Program Offices for IT and SMS requirements. Currently, the award date will likely be in 2019, with a period of performance from date of award through 2030.
We can expect another update from the Executive Council on October 19, which should give additional clarity on scope and acquisition timeline. In the meantime, interested SBs and 8(a)s should increase capture efforts such as teaming, and large businesses interested in NOAA IT work should be actively pursuing SB and 8(a) primes.
Please contact Lohfeld Consulting Group if you need assistance in capture strategies or training in how to win a vehicle such as the NEMITS IDIQ. We can also help you write a winning IDIQ proposal as well as subsequent task orders proposals.
by Lisa Pafe, APMP-NCA President, CPP APMP Fellow, and PMI PMP