This article is written to help bidders better understand how to win a place on the $5.3B Air Force EC2 contract. The self-scoring worksheet is the most important part of your proposal. And for those familiar with other self-scoring programs like Polaris and SEAPORT, this one is an order of magnitude more challenging.
Previously, we shared more information about the upcoming US Air Force EC2 procurement. It can be viewed here.
What’s Changed on the Air Force EC2 Contract?
The Government revealed in their most recent update on sam.gov that the final RFP is now expected to be released on September 23, 2022. Although the Government has not issued a new draft RFP, they issued answers to 875 questions related to the most recent draft RFP. Many of the questions clarified ambiguities in the draft RFP. Some answers revealed significant insight into what we can expect when the final RFP drops. And what is required to validate scoring on the self-scoring worksheet for qualifying past experience. Here is what you need to know now, and how best to prepare.
Air Force EC2 Contract Q&A – Offers Critical Insight into the Final RFP
Some questions clarified what constitutes a valid experience work sample for self-scoring purposes. This is important because valid work samples for each of the 31 Specialty Areas are required to substantiate self-scoring credit. It was generally understood from the draft RFP that a contract PWS or SOW could be used to substantiate work samples. However, in Q&A 510 and 511, the Government stated that “A work sample must reflect accomplished work through the past or on-going contract, not the mere potential or speculative opportunity to acquire contracts or perform work in the future.”
In Q&A 514, the government stated “IDIQ contracts (multiple award or single award) are not an acceptable proof of past experience (or past performance) in themselves and shall not be provided as a work sample. However, individual task orders, performed under an IDIQ contract, can be used as a work sample. One task order shall be considered one work sample.”
The Government also clarified in Q&A 543 that “work samples shall consist of only official contract documentation. “Official contract documentation” includes key documents integral to contract performance, such as contracts, orders, modifications, PWS/SOW/SOO, CDRLs, subcontracting plans, invoices, meeting minutes, progress reports, monthly status reports, or other reports. The contractor may submit other documentation it regards to be integral to the contract (i.e., CPARS, FPDS, memos from COs/government official/prime contractor). But offerors are cautioned that the documentation is validated for past experience (not past performance) and that authenticity (contract-contemporaneous documents) and level of detail are critical considerations of any work sample.” Multiple answers to questions also acknowledged errors in the draft RFP that would be corrected in the final RFP.
What is Required to prime?
Although the language is not direct, the scoring paradigm makes it clear that the Air Force is looking for contractors with a wide reach for prime awards. This is because there are 31 Specialty Areas in the program. Bidders can submit 2 work samples per Specialty Area with a max award of 10 points per specialty area. Simple math tells us that max possible score for 31 Specialty Areas is 310. To qualify as a prime, a bidder must score 90% of possible max points or 290, which means bidding 29 Specialty Areas.
This schema makes it clear that only contractors who can build a team covering at least 29 Specialty Areas will be able to win a prime contract.
Three Actions to Take Now for EC2
Based on all available information on the EC2 procurement, companies planning to prime should take the following three actions now to maximize their probability of award:
- Be Prepared for Changes in the Final RFP that Impact Proposal Development. Since many Q&As telegraphed expected changes in the final RFP, it will be important to carefully review all changes and the impacts to proposal development for a successful submission. Since the final RFP is expected in late September, companies planning to prime should plan proposal resourcing carefully. Late September is also a time when many IDIQ-type contracts issue task order requests (TOR) for proposals and agencies look to obligate all available funding by the end of the fiscal year.
- Cover Specialty Area Gaps with Teaming Arrangements. There are no restrictions on teaming for EC2. Thus, any company that lacks required experience can maximize their score by teaming with an experienced small or large business. Before executing any teaming agreements, a smart move would be to address in detail the evidence requirements for achieving a maximum score for self-scoring experience purposes. After teaming, it also makes sense to thoroughly walk through the requirements and provide examples of what is required to prepare partners for success and to avoid rework.
- Ensure adequate Proposal resources are available to support the Air Force EC2 Contract. The labor mix for an EC2 proposal team is different than a traditional proposal. Not only is the analysis needed to find the experience examples more difficult. But also, EC2 will involve a significant desktop publishing effort to compile the likely hundreds of pages of documentation from up to 62 work samples (2 different contract work samples can be submitted from the 31 Specialty Areas to achieve maximum scoring) and package it in the experience volume. The volume of content also will require a team of reviewers to understand the proposal requirements and the time required to review all documentation presented. EC2 may also require multiple proposal managers or coordinators to work with a potentially large volume of teaming partners.
Proposal Support for EC2
One product that may be of value is our Proposal Readiness Review (PRR). This is designed to evaluate your position and provide a professional outside look at your potential score. And help you identify holes in your offering. Or maybe you need a proposal consultant experienced in preparing self-scoring worksheets.