DEIS II task-order procedures could move governmentwide

The Defense Information Systems Agency has crafted a set of procedures for competing task orders under multiple-award contracts that the agency will use on the newly awarded DEIS II program and that also could be applied to governmentwide best-practices guidelines that are being compiled.

DISA's "A Guide to Best Practices for Fair Opportunity and Consideration" discusses the agency's task-order competition approach and is designed to address the fair-opportunity provision contained in the Federal Acquisition and Streamlining Act. That provision seeks to ensure that each vendor has a fair opportunity to compete for task orders within a multiple-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract.

DISA plans to use a two-step process on DEIS II.

In the first step, the multiple awardees will be screened to "determine which ones have the greater potential for fulfilling the task requirement," according to the DISA best-practices guide. That assessment is to be based upon past performance in specific technical, functional and/or organizational areas. In the case of DEIS II, DISA's Joint Requirements Analysis and Integration Directorate has compiled a past-performance database that the directorate's Defense Integration Services Management Office will tap to identify awardees with the greatest potential. The database is based upon responses to a questionnaire that DISA distributed to customers identified by the DEIS II bidders in the proposal process, said Mary Sloper, chief of the Defense Integration Services Management Office. As DEIS II contractors complete tasks, customer evaluations of those tasks will replace the earlier customer evaluations, she said.

Step Two

The second step of DISA's process involves an evaluation of vendor white papers submitted in response to a statement of work. The call for papers will include "the selection criteria and methodology to be used," according to the DISA guide.

An oral presentation may replace the white paper, provided the orals are documented. The DISA guide encourages oral presentations as a means for reducing acquisition lead time and contractors' costs.

Bob Dornan, senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc., McLean, Va., said DISA's report "calls for us to have...confidence in government officials' ability to make wise business decisions." He added that in the pre-procurement reform era, rules and regulations had been substituted for the contracting officer's business judgment.

DISA's guide will be rewritten as an "implementing instruction" for DEIS II and will be distributed to customers, Sloper said. The guide also may be incorporated into a best-practices guide that the Office of Federal Procurement Policy is drafting on the topic of fair opportunity.

"We are planning to look at DISA's approach and other agencies' approaches and come up with governmentwide guidance on fair opportunity for consideration," a Clinton administration official said.

Steven Kelman, OFPP's administrator, already has reviewed DISA's fair-opportunity approach. In a June 26 letter to DISA, Kelman wrote: "I believe you have developed an excellent set of procedures that will maintain vigorous competition for task orders through the life of the contract while assuring that orders under the contract can be awarded in a streamlined manner. I believe your procedures can serve as a model for other agencies developing procedures for use under this kind of contract."

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