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4/21/2021 9:25 AM

Preparing a $50M agency specific IDIQ?  You may need an Analysis of Alternatives to support your business case as mandated by OMB M19-13.

Check out this announcement from the Category Management Community on AoAs.​



  
3/31/2021 11:00 AM
Visit the DAU Open Workshops Training Opportunities page for more information.  I've selected a few of the workshops that are available and relevant to services acquisition.

WSA 001 DEVSECOPS for the DoD: Fundamentals 
  - Provides of overview of DevSecOps in the DoD
WSA 002 DEVSECOPS for the DoD: Security Focus
  - Understand and implement automated processes to securely develop and deploy software
WSC 005 Source Selection
  - An overview of the Source Selection Process that provides participants with actionable skills
WSA 004 Cloud Services Workshop
  - An in-depth exploration of cloud services and information to manage and migrate organizations to cloud environments
WSM 022 Intellectual Property/Data Rights (IP/DR) Workshop For FAR-Based Contracts
  - Understand and manage IP/DR in Government contracts

  
1/28/2021 9:42 AM

​Check out the blog on this subject.  In the blog I asked for your tools, checklists, best practices.  We can have that conversation here more easily.  Check Defense Pricing and Contracting's page on Contingency Contracting Resources which does have great content to help you with OCS including a link to the Operational Contract Support (OCS) on MIL Connect. OCS Connect has the latest tools, products, guidance, training, and collaboration on OCS.

  
  
  
  
  
SAM_Stakeholder Analysis Worksheet.docx
  
Example5/3/2021 9:40 AM
Service Level Agreement Primer.docx
  
Lessons Learned4/1/2021 9:19 AM
Contract_Award_Source_Selection.docx
  
Learning Material3/22/2021 3:08 PM
Metrics or measures.pdf
  
Reference3/22/2021 3:05 PM
Guidebook for Acquiring Engineering Technical Services (ETS) v2.aspx
  
Reference3/4/2021 7:32 AM
GAO-21-267R SERVICE ACQUISITIONS DOD’s Report to Congress Identifies Steps Taken to Improve Management.aspx
  
Report2/24/2021 1:52 PM
IT Services References.docx
  
Reference2/12/2021 9:37 AM
Metrics or measures.docx
  
Reference2/12/2021 9:23 AM
SAW_Step 0 Assessment.docx
  
Report2/10/2021 11:07 AM
DoDI 3020.41 Operational Contract Support (OCS).aspx
  
Reference12/16/2020 4:21 PM
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
05/4/2021 11:11 AM
In 2018, the Army solicited for the Software and Systems Engineering Services Next Generation (SSES NEXGEN) for Army Data, Architecture, Content/Knowledge Management Solutions (DACMS) effort under the Unrestricted Suite.  Requirements included Data Architecture, Army Data Management Program, Strategic Services Architecture Support, Data Centric Solutions, and Content/ Knowledge Management Solution Services. How's SSES doing?  Data at a glace for SSES NGen may be found at GOVTRIBE, but please note that you only get 1 free view per month. It's interesting what you can do with data and worth using that free look!  Here's the question.  Where can I find info on SSES on a Government (Army) web site?  Appreciate your help!



5/4/2021 11:11 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
110/9/2020 12:11 PM

First, with the Back to Basics (BtB) memo (also available on the Policy Tab here in the community), things are changing.  I think more seats will become available for our non-acquisition personnel performing services acquisition functions.  ​Last year we had 81 Priority 9s graduate from an ACQ265 (38) or ACQ265V (43)--slightly more once ACQ 265 went virtual.  Currently, for FY21 there are 14 ACQ265Vs in ATRRS and 4 are just about full.  NOTE:  the schedule only goes out to 2QFY21, so I expect to see more offerings added after the new year.

If you are a non-acquisition workforce member, you're a priority 9.  What that means is you will be waitlisted for any of these offerings until 1 month out.  At one month out, if there's a seat available, it's filled from those Priority 9s that are on the waitlist.  It's your seat now--you won't be bumped.  The other trick is to contact DAU and attempt to gain a seat from any no-shows on the first day of class.  Ask if you can get access to the ACQ265 pre-classroom work so you are ready for class on day 1.  On average, I fill one seat per class this way.  So if you are proactive and have some flexibility, you have a much better shot at getting into a class.

Here's my Second thought:  With the BtB and the six functional areas streamlining the required training, more seats are likely to be available when ACQ265 is no longer required (currenly ACQ265 is on a pick list for Logistics and Contracting).  This isn't locked yet, but it's my prediction (Stroup, editor, ACE for Services).  Hopefully we still see contractiong and logistics professionals in ACQ265 as they find a need to learn about services acquisitions. 

Third.  Rules for use of credentials are to be written.  The BtB memo tasks Human Capital Initiatives (HCI) with revising DoDI 5000.66 and a lot of thought needs to go into the policy about use, prioritization, expiration of credentials.  My input on the matter is that re-qualifying ought to be something much more engaging then retaking the current exam (that should keep me busy in the future). You'll find the current rules on the DAU Credentials page

I'd be happy to hear your thoughts!  And a reminder that there exists great training for services acquisition that has no waitlist because it's entirely on line.  ACQ 1650, ACQ 256 (that's the tools course), CLM 006 (soon to be ACQ 0060) (Cost Estimating), all OLTs, had over 2500 Priority 9 grads last FY.  Stop by the training tab here on the ACE for Services home page for more info on DAU Learning Assets.  Happy new fiscal year!  Ad

ADAM STROUP2/19/2021 9:48 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
12/1/2021 10:15 AM
An insightful article by Nash published February 2021 on Westlaw, a Thomson Reuters website [requires a subscription] details the trials and tribulations of using a performance work statement for services acquisition.  The title of the article is "11. PERFORMANCE WORK STATEMENTS: The Policymakers' Monster—Where Is Our Theseus?" and as this title suggests, historically the definitions of a PWS, what constitutes a service and a result of a service, and even what does measurable imply is tracked historically from today back to US Air Force regulations a few decades ago.  Are these terms archaic?  On ACQuipedia you will find a performance work statement (PWS) defined as a statement of work for performance-based acquisitions (PBAs) that describes the required results in clear, specific and objective terms with measurable outcomes.  We need to tell the offerors what those measurable outcomes are and those are standards, possibly accompanied by Acceptable Quality Levels (AQLs) which are deviations to those standards that the Government can tolerate.  But who hasn't seen contracts with task statements to the contractor that lack AQLs let alone standards? [for more info on Standards and AQLs, see Sample Performance Standards on SAM]  Nash highlights a few glaring examples. For a knowledge based service, it's very difficult for a task where we ask for a contractor's analysis to then apply a standard to get at how good an analysis was done.  I rely on insight into the contractor's staffing and management and even their Quality Controls before selecting them to (hopefully) get that good analysis. (This will be a key feature in Relational Contracting--see below) Now, that analysis ought to be in a document and there I can apply standards and AQLs to a written document such as free of errors (Standard) with less than 1 error per 100 words (AQL).  Sometimes we do have a standard for an analysis task and let me compare that to the peer review process before your solicitation leaves your office. [Do you get good comments back?  If not, you need better reviewers!]  We could implement peer review as a standard.  Something like the Government will review [all, random sample] analyses and any faults found will be corrected by the contractor at no cost to the Goverment.  The problem is I don't have reviewers standing by nor do I have a definition of a fault that's likely to survive first contact with corporate legal.  

The summary of Nash's article proposes we (Government) do away with the PWS and performance based acquisitions.  Nash has been of this opinion (with good reasoning) for over a decade now (see: A Proposal for a New Approach to Performance‐Based Services Acquisition, Def. Acquisition Rev. J. 353 (Sept. 2007).  In the 2007 article, the authors state "the main reason that PBSA has not been more successful is that it is not a practical approach to buying long-term and complex services." The why behind that statement is that it's "... unrealistic to ask agencies to specify services at the time of contract award in clear, specific, objective, and measurable terms when future needs are not fully known or understood, requirements and priorities are expected to change during performance, and the circumstances and conditions of performance are not reliably foreseeable." The authors propose Relational Contracting or Relational PBSA and outline key features and conditions for use. It is worth a read of the ARJ article and perhaps a discussion here! 
RICHARD FOWLER2/2/2021 4:24 PMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
01/11/2021 8:16 AM

​The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released an important new report entitled “GAO-21-171 Information Technology: Federal Agencies Need to Take Urgent Action to Manage Supply Chain Risks.”  This is particularly timely given the December 2020 discovery of a breach of SolarWinds Worldwide LLC’s network-management software Orion, which is widely used by U.S. agencies and companies.

This blog by Bill Kobren will connect you to the report and provides additional blogs on Supply Chain Management Risks.  To go directly to the GAO report select GAO-21-171[NOTE:  you may have to click on the title of this article to access the two links.]

1/11/2021 8:16 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
110/23/2020 9:42 AM

It's out!  CON 0150 deployed 16 October 2020.  It will take you about an hour to complete, but it is the latest DoD content available for category managers as well as the workforce procuring services and goods for the DoD.​  The number of continuous learning points will be posted in about a month as we use actual student data to determine CLPs.  Visit the Category Management Community for more detailed information devoted to Category Management!

ADAM STROUP12/14/2020 7:39 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
05/28/2020 8:04 AM

​GAO's Watchblog provides a snapshot of Government-Wide Contracting for FY19 with DoD at the top of the list.  Out of the department's $381.2B in contracts, Services account for $189.7B versus $191.5B for products and Aircraft, fixed wing, leads the list of products bought.  What else can we learn from these data?

Since GAO's 2017 High-Risk Report, their assessment of all five criteria remains unchanged for DoD Contract Management. DoD continues to demonstrate top leadership support for addressing challenges in its (1) acquisition workforce, (2) service acquisitions, and (3) operational contract support (OCS), which is defined as planning for and obtaining supplies, services, and construction from commercial sources in support of joint operations.  GAO noted that DOD continues to take action to meet the demonstrated progress criterion—with additional management attention needed for service acquisition.

Watchblog noted an increase of $20B in FY19 over the previous year; spend on DoD services accounted for a ~$15B increase ($175.0B in FY18).  Within services, the top categories were Professional Engineering/Technical, General Health Care, Logistics Support, Professional:  Other, and Maintenance and Repair of Aircraft Equipment.  That's a lot of Knowledge-Based Services as has traditionally been the case.

To promote small business participation in federal contracting, there is a government-wide goal to award about a quarter of contract dollars to small businesses.  DoD in FY19 awarded $75.7B to small business out of $318.2B, or 23.8%, exceeding the department's goal.  The Office of Small Business Programs tracks DoD's goals over the years on their Goals and Performance page.  You can also find goals for FY2020 posted.

To close, while the data do not reflect spending on COVID-19 response, a Coronavirus page provides blogs on this topic including one on the Military's pandemic response.

5/28/2020 8:04 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
05/13/2020 10:34 AM

The recently released, DODIG-2020-079 Report on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Cloud Procurement presents the reults of the DoDIG review.

On July 26, 2018, the DoD issued a Request for Proposals to obtain cloud computing services using a single-award Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract. The Request for Proposals stated that the contract would have a maximum value of $10 billion, over a potential 10-year performance period, if the DoD exercised all option periods.  Multiple protests of the solicitation and more recently the award ensued.

I find the section "JEDI Cloud Acquisition Strategy and Key Acquisition Milestones" particulary informative with respect to single award Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contracts.  The rationale selected by the USD(A&S) was use of a firm fixed price contract type.  This was part of Oracle's protest.  The DoDIG comments on this indicating that "regarding the firm-fixed-price exception under 10 U.S.C. 2304a(d)(3) (2018)" that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims concluded that the term “established” meant “at the time of” entering the contract.  The JEDI Cloud contract left some future requirements open with respect to pricing.

DoDIG's Recommendation 1:  We recommend that the Acting Director for Contract Policy, Defense Pricing and Contracting, consider developing and implementing appropriate policy to require some level of documentation and analysis supporting key acquisition decisions, including any legal reviews and advice, for contracts that exceed the $112 million threshold established by statute.

Feel free to reply to this post to discuss this and other points you find of interest.  Adam Stroup, Editor, ACE for Services

5/13/2020 10:34 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
04/6/2020 8:37 AM

IPPS-A is an online Human Resources (HR) system that will provide integrated personnel, pay and talent management capabilities in a single system to all Army Components for the first time ever. IPPS-A will improve the lives of Soldiers, and their Families, and how the Army interacts with them by transforming decades-old personnel systems to a 21st century talent management system. It will provide three essential capabilities to the Army: Total Force Visibility, Talent Management and Auditability.

A story in FNN reports Army National Guard moves to modern personnel system, gives soldiers mobile access.  IPPS-A replaces the Standard Installation and Division Personnel Reporting System (SIDPRS), which was a giant leap in the early 1980s.

The system will also help the National Guard with the COVID-19 response.  For example, soldiers can take a picture of a birth certificate, prove the birth of a new child and put it in the system without having to come in contact with another human and risk spreading the coronavirus.

The Army is now focusing on adding the other components (Active and Reserves) of the service to IPPS-A and building additional features.

4/6/2020 8:37 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
03/17/2020 7:38 AM

Federal News Network headline from the annual WEST 2020 conference in San Diego reports on this initiative before congress for FY21. [Note:  open this article to follow links]

The Defense Innovation Board in 2019 concluded in its final report that current “color of money” restrictions undermine DoD’s software acquisitions.  According to the board, separation of software development into research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E), procurement, and operations & maintenance (O&M) appropriations and the use of cost-based triggers within each acquisition category causes delays and places artificial limitations on the program management office’s ability to quickly meet changing needs, resulting in increased lifetime cost of software and slower deployment. Further, modern, agile approaches used in commercial software development will result in faster deployment and significant cost savings when unconstrained by 'color of money' considerations..

3/17/2020 7:38 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
511/1/2019 9:24 AM

UPDATE 26 June 2020:  The Category Management Community is live.  Look for Policy, Success Stories, Market Intelligence, BIRs/CIRs, Training Resources, Industry Reports and Organizational Newsletters.


The Category Management Community of Practice is a forum designed to facilitate the acceleration of the Department's Category Management efforts by:  

  • Serving as the central repository of the DoD’s Category Management materials to provide the DoD Category Management community with the support, resources, and knowledge needed to accomplish their mission
  • Providing a forum in which Category Management professionals can discuss Category Management, share better business practices, ideas, intelligence, and lessons learned
  • Serving as the portal through which access to training and guidance on how to get involved in Category Management may be provided to DoD personnel
  • Serving as a venue to facilitate cross-organization / joint collaboration on Category Management efforts
  • Providing a venue for obtaining expert advice and technical assistance in performing Category Management functions
  • Serving as a venue in which standardized guidance about how Category Management activities are to be conducted across the DoD may be disseminated, including the respective roles and responsibilities of Category Management Team members
  • Serving as the venue through which the principles, merits, and methodologies of Category Management may be communicated through introductory presentations, strategic communications, success stories, and similar promotional material

UPDATE 12 DEC 2019:  Coming soon, the new Category Management Community of Practice.  Click on the title of this post to access the link to the community!


SHERRY TAYLOR11/7/2019 5:34 PMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
011/4/2019 6:20 PM

​On Oct. 31, 2019, a President Trump Executive Order revokes EO 13495 of Jan. 30, 2009, which gave Service Contract Act employees’ Right of First Refusal with a successor employer.

11/4/2019 6:20 PMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
010/28/2019 9:32 AM

​There's a new poll available.  What are your plans for obtaining a services acquisition credential?  We would also like to hear what you think about credentials in general and the two new DAU credentials for services.  Feel free to reply to this post.

If you recall the old poll, "Have you participated in any DAU Workshops for Services Acquisitions?" here are the results.

WSM002 Risk Management WS - 0
WSM008 Developing performance Requirements for SA - 1
WSM009 SOW, SOO, PWS Workshop - 1
WSM012 SAW - 3
WSM014 Acq Strat WS - 0
Other - 1
Never participated in a WS - 4
Total = 10

Not a great sample size especially given DAU trains over 500 folks annually in SAWs (WSM012).  Hopefully this community and the service acquisition mall (SAM) are providing users easy access to the information needed.  But if you have a minute, log on and take the latest poll and let us know what you think.

10/28/2019 9:32 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
210/7/2019 11:13 AM

​DAU is initially piloting four credentials focused on performance in the areas of Agile Methods, Digital Engineering, and Acquisition of Services.  For services, there are two credentials:  one for a non-acquisition professional team member and one for an acquisition career field member.  For more information and to view the guide, visit the DAU Credentials page and FAQs. [NOTE:  Click on the title to access links]

ADAM STROUP10/28/2019 9:20 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
08/20/2019 6:49 AM

DoD SAFE is a new service (replacing AMRDEC SAFE) to make it easy for you to exchange unclassified files (including FOUO) up to 8.0 GB that can't be sent through email. Only unclassified data is permitted. There are two distinct kinds of users that will be accessing the DoD SAFE system: inside users, who are associated with the DoD and have a CAC (Common Access Card), and outside users, which encompasses the rest of the Internet. An inside (CAC authenticated) user is allowed to send a drop-off to anyone, whether they are an inside or outside user. An outside (unauthenticated) user is only allowed to send a drop-off after receiving a drop-off request from that user.  Read more under the "Help" button at the DoD SAFE page.  NOTE:  You may need to use Google Chrome for this service to work properly for you.   https://safe.apps.mil/

8/20/2019 6:49 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
08/7/2019 8:17 AM
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) solicitation number CSOP-HQ-GS-00001 seeks artificial intelligence solutions to help contracting officers use CPARS, a key government database of Past Performance Information.  The 5 August 2019 solicitation posted on FedBizOpps seeks a tool that can identify relevant information from the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) to help streamline the contracting process and reduce administrative burden. Contracting officers are required under law to evaluate past performance when making acquisition decisions.

If we could just create an AI tool to do the CPARS inputs, we would have a completely artificial CPARS. 


8/7/2019 8:17 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
07/16/2019 9:01 AM

​FCW executive editor Adam Mazmanian reports the National Defense Authorization Act passed the House on 12 July 2019 with two amendments designed to promote greater joint oversight of the electronic health records modernization programs at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. [NOTE:  follow the link above to FCW.  Click through the ad to see the article's content.] The amendments outline the authority to be delegated to a joint DOD-VA board being established to help oversee the projects and sets deadlines and milestones for achieving interoperability between DOD and VA systems.

DOD and VA both contracted to use software from Cerner [NASDAQ CERN, N Kansas City, MO] to remake their health records systems.  VA is replacing its homegrown Vista system through a $10 billion contract with Cerner.  DOD, under a $5.4 billion contract with Leidos and Cerner, is already rolling out the Cerner-based system called MHS Genesis, currently in multiple Pacific Northwest facilities.

MHS GENESIS, the new electronic health record for the Military Health System (MHS), provides enhanced, secure technology to manage  service members, veterans, and their families health information. MHS GENESIS integrates inpatient and outpatient solutions that will connect medical and dental information across the continuum of care, from point of injury to the military treatment facility.

7/16/2019 9:01 AMNo
  
Picture: JENNIFER ZEARLEY
  • JENNIFER ZEARLEY
17/11/2019 3:17 PM

What are some good metrics that I should use for services acquisitions?​

ADAM STROUP7/12/2019 8:36 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
07/3/2019 8:25 AM

Development has begun starting with the fictional scenario (an IT Services Management Office) for this new classroom course. ACQ305 will help the PM or functional services manager (FSM) run an S-CAT I acquisition using the 7-Step process, services acquisition tools and best practices. It will also help experienced PMs to manage services vice weapons systems acquisitions. Look for ACQ305 student offerings next FY (MAR 2020)!

7/3/2019 8:25 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
67/23/2018 7:37 AM

​Since 2014 the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has increased the price of background investigations by 40 percent while wait times have tripled. In January, the Government Accountability Office added the Government-wide Personnel Security Clearance Process to its list of high-risk government programs and questioned whether NBIB (see https://nbib.opm.gov/)  had an adequate plan to reduce the current backlog.  Under a 21 June 2018 White House reorganization plan, the NBIB could be absorbed into the DoD.  The Defense Security Service (DSS) is primed to take on responsibility for DoD personnel later this year and DSS is a logical DoD organization for the transfer of NBIB (yet to be approved by Congress).

ADAM STROUP6/13/2019 9:16 AMNo
  
Picture: ADAM STROUP
  • ADAM STROUP
23/27/2019 7:58 AM
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that about 26 percent of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) contracts and orders valued $5 million and above in fiscal year 2017 were competitively awarded using the lowest price technically acceptable (LPTA) process. DOD used the LPTA process to buy such things as equipment, fuel, information technology services and construction services.  Section 813 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, as amended, mandated that DOD revise its regulations to require that eight criteria be considered when using the LPTA process. As of September 2018, DOD had not yet done so. Accordingly, a DOD acquisition policy official stated that contracting officers are not yet required to consider these criteria. Nevertheless, GAO found that contracting officials generally considered five of the eight criteria for the 14 contracts and orders GAO reviewed (see GAO 19-54).  A DOD official stated that the updated regulations will reflect these eight criteria, including that justifications be documented. 

GAO recommends that DOD address, as regulations are updated, how contracting officials should apply two Section 813 criteria that were generally not considered. DOD concurred with the recommendations and plans to revise its regulations and issue additional guidance by the end of fiscal year 2019.


ADAM STROUP5/17/2019 1:50 PMNo
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