Uncovering SEWP VI Draft RFP Q&A: Part 1 Relevant Experience

NASA has just answered a LOT of questions regarding the SEWP VI Draft RFP that was released in September 2023. The final RFP is expected to be released by the end of winter 2024 (March 21). Answers to all 1,655 questions have not yet been provided, but NASA has responded to a great deal of questions and their answers provide more clarity on how bidders should respond to Categories A, B, or C.

We don’t see this draft changing much outside of the clarifications provided in these answers. Bidders should be heads-down working to complete these requirements and prepare their responses to this near-term RFP release. Remember, this is NOT a point scoring RFP! If you need help, Red Team is here for you with proposal management, capture management, writing, editing, graphics and desktop publishing.

What follows is our compilation of some of the more compelling questions regarding Relevant Experience Projects, with a bit of analysis for each answer.

Question 190: Category B- Enterprise-wide IT Solutions (Products and Service Solutions) – NAICS 541512 (Pg 39) – Please confirm that the Government considers an ‘enterprise’ as an agency or specific implementation activity within the Government.

Answer: Enterprise-wide is defined as a large-scale requirement involving multiple departments, locations, and customers.

💡 Red Team’s Take: We begin with an important answer. Up until now, for Category B, we have only had the words “enterprise-wide” to determine whether experience was compliant to the requirements of Volume 1 and compelling for Volume III. Now, we have more.

This definition may make it more difficult for some to bid on Category B, in our opinion. Meeting one of the above criteria does not meet the definition. The use of the word “and” means that you must meet ALL of these requirements. A Category B Relevant Experience Project and Experience in Volume III must have:

  • Multiple Departments
  • Multiple Locations
  • Multiple Customers

Question 2: For Categories B and C, is there a recency requirement for Relevant Experience Projects?

Answer: The Prime Offerors shall furnish relevant experience projects that are completed or ongoing within three (3) years of the solicitation due date to be considered recent. This revision will be reflected in the Final RFP.

💡 Red Team’s Take: This question has been asked in most of our presentations and in one-on-one settings. The recency requirement for Relevant Experience Projects is officially the same as for Past Performance on SEWP VI: 3 years prior to the solicitation (proposal) due date.

Question 3: In the published draft, this section says that “Relevant experience from subcontractors, affiliates, and predecessor companies will not be evaluated or taken into consideration.” For small businesses submitting offers, does 13 CFR 125.2 (g) apply to this RFP?

Answer: Information from subcontractors, affiliates, and predecessor companies will be evaluated or taken into consideration for first-tier subcontractors to small businesses in accordance with 13 CFR 125.2(g) only when the Small Business prime offeror does not independently demonstrate capabilities and/ or past performance necessary for award. The Final RFQ will be revised accordingly.

💡 Red Team’s Take: NASA has officially corrected the ability of Small Business offerors under NAICS 541512 to allow for the evaluation of first tier subcontractors’ REPs. Please note that this is ONLY allowed when and if the Small Business prime offeror “does not independently demonstrate capabilities and/or past performance necessary for award.”

Question 9: The requirements for small business offerors to possess both ISO and CMMI along with a minimum REP of $30M for multiple projects eliminates many offerors from consideration. This is in stark contrast to NASA’s long history of being small business friendly and growing its base of contractors. Many current successful NASA contractors do not possess these requirements. Considering recent IT contract consolidations throughout NASA and fewer Prime small business opportunities, we highly encourage NASA to consider removing the CMMI requirement and align the REP sizes with those outlined for past performance.

Answer: The Final RFP will be revised to clarify that for small businesses- Each Project must have had a minimum of $5M in total value size of a single order or contract and must be described using the Exhibit 1 REP template.

💡Red Team’s Take: Relevant Experience Projects must have a minimum of $5M in TOTAL awarded value for Small Businesses in Categories B and C. They must have a minimum value of $30M for Unrestricted bidders. We originally assumed that these numbers were annual values.

This potentially allows more projects to be used to qualify for Categories B and C at a revenue level, BUT be sure to continue to read for Category B REPs, because there is more clarity on what “enterprise” means. Further, NASA is consistent with other agency IDIQs in their requirement for CMMI certification.

Question 44: For Phase 2 – Does a Neutral confidence mean that the offeror may have little or no past performance?

Answer: As stated on page 101 in the Draft RFP, a neutral level of past performance confidence is defined as an Offeror without a record of relevant past performance or for whom information on past performance is not available [see FAR 15.305(a) (2) (ii) and (iv)].

💡 Red Team’s Take: Please remember that neutral equals “without a record of relevant past performance or for whom information on past performance is not available” not a “little” past performance.

Also, while scoring “neutral” will technically get an offeror through the past performance evaluation, it does not mean that this same bidder will score a “high confidence” on Mission Suitability.

This is a 4-part blog series. In Part 2, Joe discusses questions and answers related to the use of NAICS Code 541512. In Part 3, Joe dives into Category A answers. In the final installment, Part 4, Joe provides his analysis on everything else that is compelling in the Q&A.