NOAA’s $8B ProTech 2.0 solicitation brings the latest in streamlined acquisition

NOAA ProTech 2.0 brings the latest in streamlined acquisitionWhen the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued the final RFP for the ProTech 2.0 Satellite Domain on Dec. 2, the agency may have ruined the holidays for the small business contractors (under 1,250 employees) planning to bid. Phase One responses are due on Jan. 6, 2022. This multi-award IDIQ vehicle with an $8 billion ceiling across all domains, is the successor to the original ProTech. This is the first RFP released for the four domains: Satellite, Fisheries, Oceans, and Weather.

The majority of Satellite Domain Task Orders for ProTech 1.0 are between $1 million and $10 million. NOAA will issue between 10-25 awards for the new IDIQ.

But what’s really new is the focus on innovation.

As NOAA previewed in their May 2021 update, they plan to speed acquisition time for all domains by using one or more procurement innovations:

  • Advisory Down-Select
  • Oral Presentations
  • Confidence Ratings
  • On-the-Spot Consensus Evaluation
  • Streamlined Documentation

We will see more and more of these types of innovations in the new year as overworked agency acquisition shops strive to get procurements out and awarded.

Satellite Domain RFP Innovations

Innovation number one is the Phase One Advisory Down-Select. This phase has two parts, the first largely administrative and the second including the Relevant Technical Experience Self-Assessment Matrix worksheet. Bidders must complete the self-assessment matrix to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the team’s relevant technical experience with projects similar in size to current ProTech Satellite services, similar in scope to the 190 PWS elements, and aligning with at least one of the seven Mission Focus Areas.

NOAA will evaluate breadth and depth using formulas automatically performed by the matrix spreadsheet. The agency will then down-select offerors using formulaic “proximity measures” to provide competitive coverage of all 190 service elements. However, NOAA may advise even bidders with limited capability to proceed to Phase Two “if they are the only firm capable of performing a PWS element, or they demonstrate a high level of technical merit or proficiency for a subset of the PWS services.”

Phase Two includes several innovations. For the Technical Volume, bidders must submit a written explanation of Relevant Technical Experience and slides for the Management Approach oral presentation. NOAA will evaluate these two factors to establish Confidence Ratings. As is the trend in recent procurementsConfidence Ratings are based on the assessment of how well the offeror understands the requirement, proposes a sound approach, and will be successful in performing the work.

This rating scheme requires only Streamlined Documentation and makes it easier to develop On-the-Spot Consensus ratings. Evaluation of the third non-price factor, Past Performance, will also assess the degree of confidence the government has based on a proven record of performance that demonstrates recency, relevancy and quality.

In On-the-Spot Consensus, the evaluation team reviews the proposal (or attends the oral presentation) and immediately documents the rating before beginning the evaluation of the next proposal. Individual team members do not need to document separate findings. This approach potentially saves time and streamlines awards. In May, NOAA stated that ProTech 1.0 procurements took 15 months from RFP closure to award. The goal for ProTech 2.0 goal is under 8 months per domain.

Best Value Determination

NOAA will determine best value based on Highest Technically Rated Offerors with a Fair and Reasonable Price. FAR 15.101 defines best value as using any one or combination of source selection approaches, and NOAA’s approach, while rarely used, falls within the continuum. There is no trade-off between cost/price and the three non-price factors. Of course, Offerors receiving a Low Confidence rating will not be considered for award.

Questions were due December 15, and this innovative RFP is sure to generate quite a few!

By Lisa Pafe, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, CPP APMP Fellow and PMI PMP

This article was originally published December 20, 2021 on

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