Four weeks ago, this blog focused on how the proposed BIC MAC program essentially duplicates the MAS program. Two weeks ago, Part 2 of this blog series focused on adding cost reimbursement capability for the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program. This week, in Part 3 of this series, we examine the unprecedented success of OASIS SB and OASIS Unrestricted in delivering best value mission support to customer agencies for complex, professional services, especially the Department of Defense (DoD).
In an era of great challenges, including the pandemic response and aftermath, climate change, and increasing competition with near-peer adversaries across a host of spheres, government efficiency and effectiveness are critical to our nation. OASIS SB and OASIS play a strategic role in achieving that efficiency and effectiveness across government. For example, OASIS SB serves as a strategic contract vehicle for the United States Air Force, delivering best value mission support while enhancing opportunities for small business. The following chart shows the unprecedented growth of OASIS SB and OASIS over the last five years. The information is from the OASIS dashboard.
Demand is a real-world measure of program acceptance and utility. At present, OASIS SB and OASIS constitute the largest, most successful professional services IDIQ program in government. There are key pillars on which the program’s success in supporting customer requirements rests. First, the OASIS program’s best value evaluation criteria construct brings high value, sophisticated capabilities to the government. This construct has yielded a pool of highly capable contractors for both constituent parts, OASIS AND OASIS SB, delivering best value mission support to customer agencies. This best value pool of contractors, combined with the streamlined competitive ordering procedures, is key to meeting customer needs.
Second, the creation of two contract vehicles, OASIS SB and OASIS Unrestricted, has streamlined decision-making regarding small business opportunities and meeting overall small business goals. OASIS SB, as a separate stand-alone, small business IDIQ, enhances acquisition planning and reduces administrative barriers regarding setting aside task orders. To GSA’s credit, the result has been impressive. OASIS SB accounts for just over 40 percent of the cumulative obligations under the program, well above the governmentwide goal of 23 percent.
As the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) considers the way forward for the OASIS follow-on, maintaining the best value construct and the small business construct will be critical to the future success of the program. Building on that foundation, enhancements to the core model can and should be considered. For example, simplifying the OASIS pool structure will enhance total solutions, reduce duplication, and lower administrative burdens. Simplifying the pool structure also provides opportunities to effectively increase/expand the scope of services offered via the OASIS follow-on. FAS should consider a contract scope that embraces data analytics and associated capabilities, along with services addressing sustainability. FAS, to its credit, is looking at each of these enhancements.
In addition, FAS should include automatic transfer provisions in the follow-on program that will allow small business contractors who have outgrown the applicable size standard to move directly from the separate SB IDIQ to the unrestricted IDIQ. Another enhancement would see greater upfront guidance/flexibility around deviations and substitutions for labor qualifications at the task order level. Finally, given the strategic importance of the OASIS program, FAS should bring together an integrated acquisition team, the best from across the service, to conduct the procurement. Such a step will make a powerful statement regarding the critical role the program plays in meeting customer agency requirements.
The stakes are high for GSA, customer agencies, and industry partners. In sum, an OASIS follow-on that maintains the best value and small business features of the current OASIS program can continue as a strategic, best value procurement tool in the toolbox for customer agencies. It will also continue to complement the MAS program, bringing the unique capabilities and features of both models to customer agencies. In contrast, abandoning the current OASIS SB and OASIS will have profound implications. Contract duplication will result as customer agencies look to create their own contract vehicles to meet their strategic mission needs. Moreover, creating a BIC MIC that essentially mirrors the MAS program will confuse the market and undermine the value proposition for both programs.
Given the critical importance of this program, GSA is to be commended for its proactive outreach and engagement with all stakeholders. In that spirit, the Coalition members stand ready to continue the engagement with all stakeholders on this strategic contract program.