FBI’s ITSSS 2 is yet another major agency-specific IDIQ contract to take up our time and attention in 2023. Like the VA and T4NG2, the Bureau has hit its initial timeline with the release of a draft solicitation on 23 May with a total of nine documents. The solicitation uses a self-verification approach but does so in four distinct phases, starting with clearances and labor categories, moving on to experience, and finishing with pricing and personnel.  

Besides allowing questions and comments on the draft, which are due June 5th, there are three separate industry day sessions between June 13 and 14. Ahead of these public sessions, what should industry do to be prepared and focused? Here are my three top suggestions:  

Question 1 – Are you prepared for a winning proposal effort? While there may not be a chance to ask additional questions, the presentation and insights provided by the Government could provide additional insights into the evaluation approach. 

In addition, we may see additional clarification based on the questions submitted by industry. Four main areas I expect to see a significant number of questions submitted on include: 

  • Does the Government have any plans to limit examples or other information from the mentor in a mentor-protege joint venture? This has been a major topic for small businesses, especially around experience-based scoresheet solicitations. 
  • Will the Government do anything to support mid-sized/emerging contractors, especially those who have been supporting the FBI through ITSSS but are no longer small businesses? This question gains additional significance, like the first, on experience-based solicitations. 
  • Will the Government loosen any of the small business requirements to broaden the pool? There are some strict restrictions on small business examples, especially around value, locations, and clearance required. It will be interesting to see if there is pushback from small businesses with innovative solutions and significant experience that do not meet those strict requirements.  
  • Can the Government clarify the schedule? The Government provides an initial due date, which I assume is for Phase 1. However, more detail around the timeline for the rest of the decisions would be very useful to bidders looking to best schedule their resources. 

Question 2 – What does Phase 4 look like? While the attachments and instructions are quite clear on the first three phases, the fourth is somewhat vague. The attachments are not included in the draft, so potential bidders are left in the dark on what the Government will be looking for. Therefore, bidders will be looking for additional information and insight on what will be required if they clear the first three phases. 

Question 3 – Want to partner? There are a large number of companies who are attending the industry days. Not all of them will end up priming a bid, and some of those who will may be looking for teammates (especially larges looking to find small business partners and vice versa). Therefore, industry days provide a great opportunity to reestablish connections and forge new ones with other business development professionals. Use your time in Huntsville to network and see how you might be able to improve your positions and pWin. 

Conclusion. ITSSS 2 is a critical vehicle for many companies as they look to maintain and expand their footprint with the FBI. Using the industry days to get answers to critical questions and ensure you are ready for the final solicitation and the sprint through Phase 1. 

Related Resources          

About Kevin Switaj

Kevin Switaj, PhD CP.APMP has 15 years of experience in proposal development and leadership. He is currently the President and CEO of BZ Opportunity Management, a consulting firm working with Federal, state, and local contractors with full proposal life cycle support services and training options. An award winning, best selling author, his latest work is Keys to the Castle: Building Empathy and Creativity into Bid Processes. He is also in his third term on the APMP National Capital Area Board of Directors and regularly mentors proposal professionals and new consultants to support their career development.

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