Mike Summers, OCI Vice President of Sales, and  Jeff Simons, retired Government Assistant to the PEO STRI for TEACH weigh in on their thoughts about the strategy, release date and criteria to capture this $8B Multiple Award IDIQ

TEACH Program Description

TEACH (Train, Educate And CoacH) is a major new Multiple Award IDIQ coming out this year from the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO STRI).  The value is estimated to be $600-$800M annually for seven years (1 base year plus 6 option years).  Task Orders issued under TEACH will be limited to a three year period of performance (1 base plus 2 option years) unless otherwise justified.  The current contract ceiling is projected to be $5.39B, subject to final approval by Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). 

As updated at the April 12 Procurement Acquisition Lead Time (PALT) session (an informal venue sponsored by STRI’s Acquisition Center to keep industry informed of STRI’s contract opportunities), the projected final RFP release remains July 2014 with awards in January 2016.

Program Scope

TEACH will provide a full array of training and training-related support services to U.S. Army Soldiers, other Military Services personnel, Department of Defense personnel, other Federal Agency personnel, and partner nations in the skills required to successfully perform mission requirements.  Work will be performed at both CONUS and OCONUS locations.

Much of this type of work is currently addressed under the Warfighter FOCUS (Field Operations Customer Support) contract, a single award IDIQ held by Raytheon. The primary scope under Warfighter FOCUS is the sustainment of fielded TADSS (Training Aids, Devices, Simulators and Simulations).  With an increasing number of requests for training services / support, the Government determined that it is in their best interest to break out these service / support tasks into this new TEACH contract.  TEACH will afford better pricing through increased competition and expanded ability to support customers since some previous requests were determined to be out-of-scope for Warfighter FOCUS.

Schedule Confidence

While the Government continues to project a final RFP release in July 2014, a recent RFI (issued late March) has requested additional information from industry to “refresh market research and re-validate previous findings with respect to small business capabilities and responsibility”.   This request addresses a long-standing topic of consideration, i.e., the small business strategy, which has been a pacing item for the procurement.   Also during the STRI-sponsored PALT session, the Acquisition Center shared that Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (DASA) Procurement has been notified that the approval package will be forthcoming, suggesting that the package has not yet been released for review and approval up the Army chain, through the Army Service Strategy Panel (ASSP) and to the OSD.  Given these circumstances (market refresh and Army routing), a July 2014 release will be a very significant challenge.   Best guess?   A release closer to the end of the September 2014 remains possible but only with an engaged senior leadership. 

Recent Scope Change

In past iterations of the TEACH draft Performance Work Statement, the Government has adjusted requirements with regard to a Management Information System (MIS), going from a centrally managed system, using SharePoint, to allowing contractors to provide what they want as long as the system satisfies a standard web-based interface and is capable of tracking posting specified data.   So it came as a surprise that the recently updated TEACH draft Performance Work Statement posted to FedBizOpps eliminated the requirements for a MIS altogether.   PEO STRI has not yet publicly indicated whether an alternate approach is being devised or if the MIS is no longer considered a viable need.

Small Business Strategy Update

The Government’s strategy for small business participation and selection remains a single LOT representing the full breadth of requirements with reserve seating for at least two small businesses (NAICS 611430 at $10M) as part of the selection process.   During the STRI-sponsored PALT update, the STRI Program Lead reiterated there was no intent to change the NAICS 611430, which sets the size standard at $10M.   The requested RFI appears to target the fiscal capability of small businesses to handle the potential workload given the small size standard.   However, if the Government’s additional market research fails to validate previous findings, it can only be assumed that consideration will need to be given to an alternate small business strategy (why else refresh the research in this sensitive area of concern).

Selection Criteria

Review of the TEACH draft solicitation Sections L & M suggests an approach which does not stray far afield from DOD’s prescribed source selection standards.    The factors cover the traditional management, technical, past performance, small business and cost/price concerns, with the management and technical spanning across two areas.    The more important factor seeks to uncover the offeror’s ability to execute and manage a large and broad portfolio.   The second most important factor requires offerors to propose against three specific task orders, demonstrating the offeror can not only manage a portfolio, but can also perform to real training requirements within a reasonable and responsive cost/price.

Special Provisions and Practices

While not yet readily apparent in the solicitation, some unique provisions are projected to be part of the solicitation (as expressed during the I/ITSEC 2013 program overview), as listed below.   With the recent departure of the previous program lead and as the effort is still subject to ASSP and OSD review, these provisions may not survive the final RFP release:

  • Collaboratively derived procedures with subsequent awardees to reduce TO award lead times (to include less formal procedures for <$5M).
  • On and Off-Ramp provisions to enhance the competitive pool as necessary and to eliminate habitual poor performers, respectively.
  • Advanced re-compete of TOs which demonstrate previous cost growth.
  • Encouraged use of LPTA TO source selection to help accelerate timelines.
  • Establishment of an advisory council among awardees to streamline the process.

Q&A Updates

The Government has released the third instalment of responses to industry questions posed as a result of the 2013 I/ITSEC in Nov-Dec 13.   The responses provide additional clarity with regard to expectations of the RFP-projected TOs as well as intent with regard to small business TO set-aside decision practices post-award.

This update was prepared by Mr. Mike Summers, Vice President of Sales, Southeast Region, in collaboration with recently retired Government Assistant to the PEO STRI for TEACH, Mr. Jeffrey Simons.   

Mr. Simons is the owner of JSS Acquisition Consulting (JAC), LLC and is available to assist industry on a range of acquisition related needs.  Mr. Simons can be reached at  JAC.LLC01@gmail.com .

If your company is in need of help with the TEACH proposal or any other opportunities, OCI has an extensive base of experienced proposal professionals across multiple skill areas – with a strong base of local talent in Orlando, FL and Washington DC metro areas, as well as other areas where there is a high concentration of federal business. 

Please contact Mike Summers at 407-733-7815 or email him at msummers@ociwins.com for additional information.