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iStock 000024181579 SmallThe US Army released the $37.4 billion Responsive Strategic Sourcing for Services (RS3) IDIQ contract March 25, 2015. It is due April 24, and awards are planned for late July, 2015.

The Army released the Draft RFP of the solicitation on February 24, 2015, and released answers to 90 industry questions related to the Draft RFP on March 24, 2015.

Given the high dollar value and the different award categories, the Army will likely receive well over 100, maybe over 200 proposals. Approximately 30 large businesses and 20 small businesses will receive awards, according to the latest information issued by the US Army Contracting Command. The RS3 procurement (draft solicitation number W15P7T15R0008) is intended to replace a number of existing Army multiple award IDIQ contracts, including S3, R2-3G, WEBS, TIES, and TAOSS. While incumbents on these contracts with a strong record of successful past performance are well positioned for award on RS3, the draft PWS has been prepared with intentionally broad language and covers a wide range of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) tasks, which opens the door to up and coming competitors. PWS functional areas include services related to Engineering; Research, Development, Test and Evaluation; Logistics; Acquisition and Strategic Planning; and Education and Training.

Suggestions for Preparing a Winning RS3 Proposal

Offerors that intend to submit a winning proposal should take the following actions:
1. Review the RFP documents and Industry Day briefing slide deck to understand the Section C SOW Requirements, Section L Instructions, and Section M evaluation criteria. In particular, note the insight provided by the Government from the 90 questions and answers that were published on March 24, 2015 on, and fine tune your company’s capture strategy, including teaming arrangements and proposal team resources.

iStock 000010741545 SmallLikability is more teachable than you might think

Original article can be found here:

Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few--the good looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented. It's easy to fall prey to this misconception. In reality, being likable is under your control, and it's a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ).

In a study conducted at UCLA, subjects rated over 500 adjectives based on their perceived significance to likability. The top-rated adjectives had nothing to do with being gregarious, intelligent, or attractive (innate characteristics). Instead, the top adjectives were sincerity, transparency, and capacity for understanding another person.

These adjectives, and others like them, describe people who are skilled in the social side of emotional intelligence. TalentSmart research data from more than a million people shows that individuals who possess these skills aren't just highly likable, they outperform those who don't by a large margin.
We did some digging to uncover the key behaviors that emotionally intelligent people engage in that make them so likable. Here are 13 of the best:

OCI Accounting Department Casual Friday's

Pictured above are OCI Finance Department personnel on a casual Friday.  Teyona Holland is the department Clerk.  Daiza Smith is the Billing Manager.  Bibi Ogunyankin, CPA, is the Finance Department Manager.

iStock 000039748264 SmallOn March 16, a small but fascinating article on the amount of federal contracting in the 21st century appeared in the Washington Post. This article shows why we have had such a large increase in the volume of proposals.

Author Josh Hicks uses Congressional Budget Office (CBO) numbers to demonstrate that “federal spending on contracts grew 87 percent between 2000 and 2012.” During the same time, Hicks adds, “Contracting also grew as a percentage of total federal spending” from 11 to 15 percent.

Further, “Most of the expansion occurred in professional, administrative and management services, while medical services saw the greatest increase, percentage-wise.”

This rise in federal spending for products and services explains the dramatic growth of proposal volume during the period 2000 to 2012. The author does not address the slight decline in proposal activity accompanying the Sequestration.

It is ironic to note that, no one knows how many contractors are in the federal workforce, in spite of knowing how many dollars have been spent.

The original article can be found here

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In January, we held our first breakfast series to discuss pressing issues in the industry like rapid task order response. In June, we will be offering a follow up one day course on Effectively Managing Task Order Responses.

This course offers a simple and reliable process for preparing task order proposals It offers real-life examples and take-away tools used to apply the process effectively and efficiently.

The class is led by Tim Birdsell, Task Order Proposals Shop Manager and Traci Birdsell, Proposal Manager both handpicked proposal professionals for a major defense contractor’s IDIQ Service Center.


Learn more about the one day course here.



I wrote an article that appeared in the OCI newsletter on last October 6th, regarding the Defense Health Information Technology Services Generation I (DHITS Generation I).  That article can be read at the following URL:

In the previous article we focused on providing an overview and background to the D/SIDDOMS / DHITS program.  This program supports the Defense Health Agency’s TRICARE program.  TRICARE provides the delivery of health care services to military members worldwide.

blackhawkDHITS I Current Status

The purpose of this current article is to provide insight into how prime and subcontractor bidders can increase their chances of winning a DHITS I contract.  On February 12, 2015 the contracting office released a list of those contractors registered for the Industry Day, which was scheduled for February 17th but was cancelled due to inclement weather and will be rescheduled.  There are some 930 names registered and unfortunately for readers, if you are not already on the list, registration was closed and may remain that way when the meeting is rescheduled.

However, for anyone, registered or not, the listing provides names and companies to contact for possible subcontract position or if you plan to prime the deal, subcontractors that may have skills that your company needs to fill out the ten technology areas required by the solicitation.  The Draft RFP has been available since July of 2014 and can be used by for forward-thinking federal contractors that want to get a two-month head start on developing their proposals.  The final RFP is expected to be released on or about October 14,  2015 with the award currently scheduled for June 2016.

Bernie DiTullioBernie DiTullio has joined OCI as Vice President of Business Development.  Bernie has over 30 years experience in      business development in the Government services industry.  He previously served as a business development lead at   Hewlett Packard, Cisco, and other companies.  OCI president Russell Smith said, "We are lucky to have Bernie onboard.  He  is deep in the industry, the technology, the programs, the process, and much more.  He is a people person with gifts of personality.  And we are expecting great things from him."  Bernie is dedicated to physical fitness and goes to the gym every day, as well as playing tennis and golf.




stackofringDuring the past 30 years, I have frequently been asked the question, how much does it cost to prepare a proposal?

Or "What should it cost to prepare a proposal?" The desire is to have a valid standard a bidder can use to estimate the cost to prepare a proposal based on a key variable such as the dollar value of the contract being bid.

This question is a little like the question, what does it cost to build a house? The answer is that it depends on the size, style, materials, etc.

Back in the day, the generalization was often made that preparing a proposal cost 2% of the value of the contract being bid. However, solicitation requirements vary so much that this answer is dated and does not fit all situations. When we grant that it is almost impossible to quantify what proposals should cost, useful guidelines still can be offered.

Four Primary Types of Proposals

In order to address the question, let’s break proposals down into four different types that collectively account for a large portion of solicitations:

1. Low end base O&M services such as grounds, buildings, streets, uniformed guard service, utilities, trash, etc.

2. High end technical engineering services staff augmentation where the customer is buying a team of contractor personnel to provide technical support.

3. High end hardware / software driven solutions where the contractor is developing a system to perform a complex management function or to operate specialized equipment.

4. Product sales where the customer is buying a commercial off the shelf product.

businessmanThe GSA has developed a far-reaching strategy to improve the way government acquires communications and information technology infrastructure services. This initiative, known as Network Services 2020 (NS2020), envisions a sourcing program that blends telecommunications technologies and IT infrastructure, and that provides access to the latest industry capabilities. The program will span everything from advisory services, to satellite, with enough flexibility to eventually include emerging technology like mobile-to-mobile solutions.As always, accessibility to services and the lowest overall cost to the Government are paramount in the acquisition strategy. It is GSA’s goal to drastically expand the number of vendors included in the contract in addition to the incumbent contractors. The Northeast Infrastructure Solutions (NIS) procurement will replace current local services agreements in place in four of the GSA regions, the National Capital Region (NCR) and Regions 1, 2 and 3.

Purpose of the NIS Contract

The NS2020 program will establish three regional procurements that provide access and connectivity when current LSAs expire between 2015 and 2017. Service areas will include the Northeast Infrastructure Solutions (NIS), Central Infrastructure Solutions (CIS) and Western Infrastructure Solutions (WIS).

The NIS strategy is meant to serve as the transition service between Regional Local Service Agreements (LSA) and the Washington Integrated Telecommunications Service (WITS) 3 contract that will expire over the next three years, and the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) program that is set to replace Network in 2017.

The program includes several important goals: (1) Reduce acquisition costs; (2) Diversify purchasing capabilities; (3) Improve agility and flexibility; (4) Establish an Everything over IP (EIOP) environment, and; (5) Facilitate ease of transition to the EIS program.  The GSA hopes to accomplish these goals by giving agencies a larger and more diversified pool of vendors from which to choose, and offering greater flexibility in how they manage their contracts.

The end result will empower agency customers, as well as the vendor community to propose solutions that will not require contract modifications to meet the broad and ever-changing agency needs.

Written by: Thomas Hodges

Last August I wrote an article highlighting the forthcoming Department of Energy ESPC IDIQ program: Department of Energy- Energy Saving Performance Contract (ESPC) IDIQ. In that article, I explained the unusual nature of this IDIQ, including the fact that Congressional appropriated funds are not sourced for these projects, but projects are entirely funded with private capital.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) runs the program, which consists of energy efficiency studies following by commercially financed projects to construct and install the energy saving systems identified by the studies.  The private funding firm receives its profits from the savings delivered, generally over a 25-year term with post-term residual savings reverting to the agency.

Winning an ESPC Contract

The current estimate for RFP release is now the second quarter of 2015, probably March.  However, the contracting officer will not be specific as to the release date. Energy companies planning to submit an ESPC proposal should be well into the capture phase, defining their teammates, and taking action to develop a proposal team.  

Large energy companies are likely bidders because each bidder must qualify officially on the Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) website  Qualifications include two citations for successful energy savings efforts by the bidder.  While no number of awards has been specified, DOE has indicated there will be at least two small business set asides with a size standard of $15 million, with an exception for military contractors of $38.5 under certain federal definitions.

The ESPC Contract is the perfect IDIQ for companies with a source of capital to define and execute a program in their field of energy expertise.  Federal projects are not often open to creative industry-developed definitions and solutions, so this is a rare opportunity for the adventurous firm.  OCI has the ESPC proposal expertise to assist companies in writing strong and compliant proposals.  It is doubtful that an exceptionally well written ESPC proposal would be turned down, because the character of the solicitation suggests many awards where the bidder brings an advantage to the execution of public energy saving projects.