Details of the GSA ASTRO Multiple Award IDIQ

 

Table of Content:

About the ASTRO Multiple Award IDIQ

Who is FEDSIM?

ASTRO Scope

ASTRO Pools

Who Should Pursue ASTRO?

Is ASTRO for Small Businesses too?

What is the Scoring System in ASTRO?

How to Prepare for ASTRO?

What is the Procurement Timelines?

Conclusion

 

About the GSA ASTRO Multiple Award IDIQ

ASTRO is the GSA’s next major multiple award IDIQ competition and perhaps the largest in 2020. Although the budget is unknown, considering the fact that its scope is geared towards the needs of the military and the warfighters, it is undoubtedly in the tens of billions. The ASTRO program will be administered by GSA’s Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM) but, as said, focuses on the needs of the DoD in the coming years.

The GSA ASTRO program scope covers operations, maintenance, readiness, development, research and development, hardware, and systems integration of manned, unmanned, and optionally manned systems, robotics, and platforms, as well as the services that support those systems, robotics, and platforms within the realm of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR). To put it in simple terms, it covers almost all of the requirements of the military, and this is discussed in more detail in this white paper and the categorizing (Pools) that have been introduced.


FEDSIM plans to award a maximum of 45 contracts for each of the 10 Pools (scope areas) for a maximum of 450 contracts. Although there is no set-aside status for this contract, due to the self-scoring evaluation process, many small businesses have a high chance of winning, making the competition stiff for large businesses. The contracts are planned to support a 10 year ordering period.

 

What is FEDSIM?

Before diving into the details of ASTRO, it would be prudent to become familiar with FEDSIM, who is administrating the ASTRO program. FEDSIM is a client support center within GSA that is mandated to operate as the acquisition, financial, and project management team for ASTRO.  FEDSIM works through interagency agreements and currently manages over $33 billion in contract awards for DoD, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  The organization boasts a 99% protest win rate, an attractive feature for entities looking for assisted acquisition services, and it has received high marks from customer agencies for exceptional client service.


GSA has decided to use the experience and lessons learned of the OASIS program in the ASTRO program. Therefore, in July 2017, it moved the entire OASIS program team to FEDSIM to support the design and development of the ASTRO vehicle.  FEDSIM has stated (in the first ASTRO RFI Q&A) that “the acquisition team is intending to utilize the highest technically rated source selection methodology similar to the one the acquisition team invented for OASIS.”  For this reason, GSA ASTRO is also based on a self-scoring methodology very similar to OASIS.

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GSA ASTRO Scope

The ASTRO scope includes operations, maintenance, readiness, development, systems integration, support, and research and development for manned, unmanned, and optionally manned systems, robotics, and platforms, as well as the services that support those systems, robotics, and platforms.  These systems, robotics, and platforms may be based on land, air, sea, and/or space. These requirements include the following domains:

  • Operations
  • Maintenance/Readiness
  • Development/Systems Integration
  • Support
  • Research and Development

The scope of ASTRO spans many areas of expertise and includes any and all components required to formulate a total solution to a requirement, except for those services and products expressly prohibited in this contract. Solutions may include Ancillary Support Services and/or Ancillary Support Products.

Below is a list of the Domains and Subdomains covered by the GSA ASTRO Project:

1. Operations Domain

· Data Operation:

1. 3D Terrain And Structure Mapping

33. Earth Gravity Information Gathering And Analysis

65. Navigation

2. Aerial Surveying

34. Emergency Preparedness And Assessments

66. Oceanic Data Collection And Analysis

3. Air Quality Monitoring And Measurement

35. Exercise Support

67. Photography & Film Production

4. Airfield Damage Assessments

36. Fire Detection

68. Population Density Analysis

5. Anti Drug Trafficking

37. Forest Health Protection      

69. Powerline Intelligence Gathering

6. Anti-Piracy Monitoring

38. Friendly Force Tracking

70. Precision Agriculture Support

7. Asset Tracking

39. Geospatial Intelligence

71. Radar Operations

8. Asset Verification

40. Global Climate Information Gathering And Analysis

72. Reconnaissance

9. Atmospheric Data Collection And Analysis

41. Ground Traffic Monitoring

73. Safety

10. Battle Damage Management

42. Health Sciences

74. Scientific Research

11. Blue Force Tracking

43. Humanitarian Relief

75. Seabed Mapping

12. Border Management

44. Homeland Security

76. Sea Life Research Data Gathering And Analysis

13. Border Security Monitoring

45. Hurricane Analysis, Tracking, And Modeling

77. Search Operations

14. C4 ISR Operations

46. IED Detection

78. Security

15. C5 ISR Operations

47. IED Forensics

79. Space Exploration

16. Captured Enemy Material Analysis

48. Image And Video Capture

80. Space Operations

17. Change Detection

49. Inspections

81. Submarine Detection and Tracking

18. Coalition ISR

50. Intelligence Processing and Collection          

82. Surface Ship Detection and Tracking

19. Common Operational Picture (COP) Support             

51. ISR Demonstrations

83. Supportability Analysis and Implementation

20. Counter-Terrorism

52. ISR Exercises

84. Surveillance

21. Crime Scene Situational Awareness

53. Investigation Support

85. Surveying

22. CUI Surveys (Corrosion Under Insulation)

54. Joint Operations ISR

86. Tradecraft

23. Detection and Tracking of International Terrorism

55. Land Mapping

87. Traffic Flow Analysis

24. Data Analysis

56. Law Enforcement Operational Support

88. Technical Intelligence Collection

25. Data Compression

57. Leak Detection

89. Undersea and Seabed Surveillance        

26. Data Dissemination

58. Mapping

90. Urban Planning

27. Data Visualization

59. Maritime Security

91. UxS Detection and Tracking

28. Detection and Tracking of Narco-Trafficking

60. Mine Detection and Tracking

92. Video/Image/Audio Analysis

29. Detection and Tracking of Alien Smuggling

61. Mining Support

93. Weather Analysis And Monitoring

30. Detection and Tracking of Human Trafficking

62. Monitoring Illegal Dumping

94. Wildlife Monitoring, Research, And Preservation

31. Detection and Tracking of Weapons Of Mass Destruction

63. Natural Disaster Response

95. Wildlife Surveys

32. Earth Exploration

64. Natural Resource Management

 

· Data Operations As A Service

· Mission Operations:

1. AirDrop Operations

8. Fire Fighting

15. Natural Disaster Response

2. Air Traffic Management

9. Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief

16. Non-Combatant Evacuation

3. Battlefield Support

10. Launch Services

17. Personnel Recovery            

4. Biological Prediction

11. Manned and Unmanned Cargo Transportation   

18. Search And Rescue Operations

5. Command and Control

12. Manned and Unmanned Personnel Transportation

19. Special Event Response

6. Contingency Operations

13. MEDEVAC           

20. Target Activities

7. Electronic Spectrum Management

14. Medical Supply Delivery

 

· Mission Operations As A Service

2. Maintenance/Readiness Domain:

1. Aircraft Repair and Maintenance

9. Machine Calibration Maintenance

17. Ship Repair and Maintenance

2. Armored Vehicle Repair and Maintenance

10. Overhaul

18. Supply Chain Logistics

3. Coalition Logistics Management

11. Predictive Maintenance       

19. Supply Chain Optimization   

4. Equipment Repair and Maintenance

12. Preventive Maintenance

20. Tank Repair and Maintenance

5. Floating Drydock Repair and
Maintenance

13. Prognostics and Diagnostics

21. Test Bed Repair and Maintenance

6. Industrial Equipment Repair and Maintenance

14. Radar Ground Station Repair and Maintenance

22. UxS Repair and Maintenance

7. Life Cycle Sustainment

15. Runway Repair and Maintenance

 

8. Logistics Maintenance

16. Satellite Servicing

 

 

3. Development/Systems Integration Domain:

  1. 3D Audio Technology

27. GEOINT

53. Predictive Analysis

2. AI-Enabled Autonomy

28. Human and Machine Symbiosis

54. Propulsion

3. Acoustic and Sonar

29. Human Factors/Usability Engineering

55. Prototyping and Fabrication Support

4. Advanced Technology Pilots and Trials

30. Human Interfaces

56. Quality Assurance

5. Alternative Energy Sources System Integration

31. Human-Machine Interfaces

57. Remote Sensing

6. Artificial Intelligence

32. Human-Swarm Interfaces    

58. Reverse Engineering

7. Augmented/Virtual Reality    

33. Human Systems Integration

59. Risk Management

8. Automated Information Sharing

34. Hydro-Electric Propulsion

60. Sensor Creation, Enhancement, Optimization And Development

9. Automation

35. Identity and Access Management

61. Signal Intelligence

10. Baseline (Configuration) Management

36. Independent Verification And Validation

62. Software Development (for non-IT requirements)

11. Big Data Analysis

37. Information Assurance

63. Software Independent Verification and Validation (for non-IT requirements)

12. Biometrics

38. Integration         

64. Specialized Tool Development

13. Coatings

39. Interoperability

65. Swarming Modules

14. Communications

40. Launch Processing and Verification

66. Stealth

15. Concept Development

41. Limited Run Initial Production

67. System Design

16. Configuration Management

42. Machine Learning

68. System Effectiveness and Analysis

17. Cyber Security

43. Machine Vision

69. System Life Extension Program

18. Data Analytics

44. Mesh Networks

70. System Security and Information Assurance

19. Data Management

45. Modeling and Simulation

71. System Verification and Validation

20. Data Protection

46. Mission Assurance

72. Systems Engineering

21. Design Documentation and Technical Data

47. Natural Resources Management

73. Technical Intelligence

22. Detect and Avoid

48. Navigation

74. Technical Planning

23. Electromagnetic Spectrum Optimization and Allocation

49. Neural Networks

75. Technical Requirements Analysis

24. Energy Services to include Management Planning and
Strategies, Audit Services and Metering

50. Platform Optimization

76. Thermal Management

25. Engineering (Aeronautical, Astronautical, Chemical, Communications, Electrical, Mechanical, Metallurgy/ Materials, Optical, Radar, Safety, Sensor, etc.)

51. Power

77. Undersea Navigation

26. Engineering Process Improvement

52. Process Automation

78. Wargaming

4. Support Domain

· Business Support:

1. Acquisition Support

13. Curriculum Development

25. Organizational Readiness

2. Assessments

14. Customer Relationship Management

26. Other Training

3. Budget/Financial Support      

15. Financial Analysis

27. Relations and Coordination with Law and Policy Making
Entities

4. Business Case Development Support

16. Flight Training

28. Risk Management

5. Business Process Re-engineering

17. Insurance Providers

29. Safety Case Analysis

6. Change Management

18. Interface Management

30. Supply Chain Analysis

7. Concept Development and Requirements Analysis

19. Knowledge-Based Acquisition

31. Supply Chain Management

8. Configuration Management

20. Knowledge Management

32. Technical Advisory Services

9. Consultation

21. Life Cycle Management

33. Technical Data Management

10. Cost/Schedule/Performance Improvement

22. Logistics Management

34. Workforce Transformation

11. Communication Management

23. Long-Range Planning, Futures, and Forecasting

 

12. Courseware Development

24. New Technology and Trend Identification

 

 

· Mission Support:

1. Command and Control Analysis and Assessments

9. ISR Capability Assessment

17. Strategy Development

2. Counterintelligence Support

10. Kill Chain Analysis

18. Tactical and Readiness Planning

3. Data Strategy and Management

11. Knowledge Management

19. Technical Data Management

4. Decision Analysis

12. Long-Range Planning, Futures, and Forecasting

20. Technical Documentation

5. Front End Analysis

13. Mission Planning Support

21. Threat Analysis

6. Horizontal Protection Assessment

14. Requirements Management

22. Use Case Analysis

7. Information Analytics

15. Strategic Forecasting

23. Vulnerability Assessment

8. Intelligence Analysis

16. Strategic Planning

 

 

5. Research And Development Domain

1.  Advanced Technology
Pilots and Trials

7.
Existing Product or Process Updates

13. Product or Process Enhancement

2. Airworthiness

8. Information Assurance

14. Prototyping

3. All Applicable Scientific Services

9. Innovation

15. Regulatory Compliance

4. Blockchain

10. Joint Test and Evaluation

16. Test and Evaluation

5. Data Sciences

11. New Product or Process Development

17. Verification and Validation

6. Developmental Testing

12. Quality Checks

 

Note 1: IT is considered an ancillary support service or product on ASTRO task orders and may be performed only when the service or product is integral and necessary to complete a total integrated solution under a requirement within the scope of ASTRO.

Note 2: Architect & Engineering (A&E) Services are not part of the ASTRO program.

 

GSA ASTRO Pools

GSA ASTRO is shaped around functional domain areas, which are referred to as “Pools.” Each Pool will be assigned a representative NAICS code and associated size standard.  There are a total of 10 Pools at the initial award. Each Pool will be a separate ASTRO MA-IDIQ task order contract.      

     

Multiple awards shall be made in each of the 10 Pools. 45 awards are anticipated in each Pool. In the event of a tie at the number 45 position, all Offerors tied will receive an award in the respective Pool.


Below table shows the list of the Pools:

No.

Name

Description

Primary
NAICS

Small
Business Size

Maximum No. of Awards

Pool 1

Data Operations

All data collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination activities associated with manned, unmanned, and optionally manned systems, robotics, and platforms supporting mission performance for land, air, sea, or space.

541990

$16.5M

45

Pool 2

Mission Operations

All non-data collection and analysis services associated with manned, unmanned, and optionally manned systems, robotics, and platforms supporting mission performance for land, air, sea, or space.

541990

$16.5M

45

Pool 3

Aviation

Maintenance, repair, and overhaul of manned, optionally manned, and unmanned aircraft and aircraft-related systems and platforms.

488190

$35M

45

Pool 4

Space

Maintenance, repair, and overhaul of manned, optionally manned, and unmanned space and space-related systems and platforms.

488190

$35M

45

Pool 5

Maritime

Maintenance, repair, and overhaul of manned, optionally manned, and unmanned maritime and maritime-related systems and platforms.

336611

1,250 employees

45

Pool 6

Ground

Maintenance, repair, and overhaul of manned, optionally manned, unmanned ground and ground related systems and platforms, and Industrial Machinery.

488490

$8M

45

Pool 7

Development / Systems
Integration

Systems integration, systems improvement, and/or systems engineering associated with manned, unmanned, and optionally manned systems and platforms that fall under one of the NAICS code exceptions for NAICS 541330 for land, air, sea, or space.

541330 Exception A/B/C

$41.5M

45

Pool 8

Research

All research and development associated with manned, unmanned, optionally manned, and counter UxS systems and platforms for land, air, sea, or space.

541715

1,000 Employees

45

Pool 9

Support

All the programmatic services required for the successful execution of a product, program, project, or process regarding platforms, robotics, and/or systems for land, air, sea, or space.

541990

$16.5M

45

Pool 10

Training

All the training services (including flight training) required for the successful execution of a product, program, project, or process regarding platforms, robotics, and/or systems for land, air, sea, or space.

611699

$12M

45

Note: You can participate in 1, many, or all pools but it seems that you need to submit a separate proposal for each pool.

 

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Who Should Pursue GSA ASTRO?

GSA ASTRO is a multiple award IDIQ vehicle designed solely to meet the needs of the warfighter, scoped in close collaboration with the US Combatant Commands. Operationally, it is intended to augment DoD capabilities in a number of areas to ensure interoperability, resilience, and assurance on the modern-day battlefield. Therefore, if you are working with the DoD departments (all major commands) and/or plan to expand your market into the federal military market, GSA ASTRO is for you.


Just as a comparison mark, out of the nearly 122,000 solicitations put out by the Government in 2019 (not counting the sole sources and special sales), over 43,000 were from the DoD and its sub-agencies, which is whopping 35 percent. On the downside for smaller businesses, GSA ASTRO is no “piece of cake” as FEDSIM has made it clear that the Task Orders will all have values over $100M.

 

Is GSA ASTRO for Small Businesses too?

This question can be answered in two ways:


1.
Contractually and Business-wise: It seems that the way FEDSIM has developed the RFP and its requirements, it is indeed a dream opportunity for small businesses because many will have significant advantages for winning on this MA-IDIQ compared with large businesses. For example, many small businesses can provide 4 contracts that they have an exceptional past performance on which is the King for scoring in GSA ASTRO.

The weight of the contract value (which is the advantage of large businesses) is low compared to other features of the contracts that small businesses can provide. In summary, we believe that small businesses have excellent chances of winning a piece of the pie in GSA ASTRO and should not be hindered by the fact that there is no set-aside track in this program.


2.
Operationally: This is where Small Businesses might stager. They might get the contract but be unable to execute on the Task Orders. As mentioned in the previous section, the Task Orders are said to be over $100M each, so the prime must have the financial, managerial and experience to pull together an over $100M contract.


Our advice:
For small businesses who think that they can manage a $100M project when the time comes, through support from larger firms, etc., we think this is the best opportunity to grow into the next level and have a reliable source of income for the next 10 years.

 

What is the Scoring System in GSA ASTRO?

GSA ASTRO is a self-scoring system similar to other GSA programs such as Alliant, VETS, OASIS, and HCaTS. The contractors must self-score themselves and then provide proof that they did it correctly, i.e., justify the scoring.

The total score for ASTRO is set to 15,000. This score depends on 3 factors:

  1. Experience score is derived from Four (4) past performed contracts. Experience has a maximum of 6,000 points.
  2. Past Performance score (how well you performed) is also derived from the same Four (4) past executed contracts. Past Performance also has a maximum of 6,000 points.
  3. Other Business Factors include company credentials and certifications which gives a maximum of 3,000 points.

Therefore, as can be seen, the four projects that must be selected are of immense importance and are the main factors that derive the score.


Minimum Requirements for each of the 4 Contracts/Projects:

· Each project must be ongoing or have been completed within the past 5 years. In addition, each project must have at least six months of performance.

· Each project must have a scope of work that matches the functional definition of the Pool

· Any combination of U.S. Federal Government, U.S. State Government, International Government, International Public Sector, and Non-Government/Commercial projects can be submitted. However, a Subcontract under a U.S. Federal or State Government Prime Contract is not considered a “Commercial” project and will be rejected if submitted as a Commercial project.


An important note on Joint Ventures:
If any of the 4 contracts are not in the name of the JV itself, only half the score is calculated. So if a contract receives 1500 points but is not in the name of the JV itself and was performed by one of the members, then only 750 points are accounted for that contract.


Below is the detail on how the total score is calculated:


1.
Experience

The following table shows how the experience scores are distributed for different features of a contract:

No.

Feature

Maximum Score Per Contract

Maximum Score for 4 Contracts

1

Total Value of the Contract

100

400

2

Multiple Locations (in performance)

50

200

3

Subcontracting/Teaming (at least 4)

50

200

4

Cost Reimbursement

50

200

5

OCONUS Performance

50

200

6

Multiple Domains

100

400

7

Functional Factors

 

 

7.1

Project includes data operations as a service

200

800

7.2

Project includes ISR services

150

600

7.3

Project includes monitoring of potentially illegal activities

150

600

7.4

Project includes data analysis

150

600

7.5

Project includes mapping services

150

600

7.6

Project includes Investigation Support

150

600

7.7

Project includes inspection services

150

600

Total Experience Score:

6,000

 

2. Past Performance

The following table shows how the past performance score is calculated for each contract:

No.

Feature

Maximum Score Per Contract

Maximum Score for 4 Contracts

1

PPIRS/CPARS report (Exceptional Rating) or Award Fee Determination (above 91%)

750

3,000

2

Filled Past Performance Rating Form (with Exceptional Rating)

750

3,000

Total Past Performance Score:

6,000

 

3. Other Business Factors

The following table shows how the past performance score is calculated for each contract:

No.

Feature

Score

Government Systems Certifications

1

Approved Purchasing System

400

2

Current FPRA, FPRR, and/or Approved Billing Rates

100

3

Earned Value Management System

100

4

Property Management System

100

5

Material Management and Accounting System

100

6

Cost Estimating System

100

Industry Certifications

7

CMMI Maturity Level 3

50

8

CMMI Maturity Level 4

75

9

CMMI Maturity Level 5

100

10

ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management)

100

11

ISO 27001 (Information Security)

100

12

ISO 22301 (Business Continuity)

100

13

ISO 21508 (EVM)

100

14

ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental)

100

15

DoD Commercial Airlift Review Board Approval

300

Clearances

16

Top Secret Facility Clearance

100

17

Operation of 1 Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF)

100

18

Operation of 2-4 Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facilities (SCIF)

150

19

Operation of 5 or more Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facilities (SCIF)

200

Benevolence

20

Employee Development Program

100

21

Veteran Hiring Program

100

Total Small Business Goals

22

Meets or Exceeds Corporate Small
Business Goals

300

Small Business Goals for ASTRO Performance

23

Minimum to 30% of Subcontracted Dollars to SB

100

24

30% – 40% of Subcontracted Dollars to SB

250

25

40-50% of Subcontracted Dollars to SB

400

Total Other Business Factors Score:

3,000

 

Bootstrap Bonus: Under each Pool and its size standard, Offerors who are less than 10 times the applicable small business size standard (whether dollar-based or employee based) will receive bonus points based upon their total score.  For example, for Pool 1, Data Operations, whose Small Business size is $16.5M, if a company’s size is between $132M and less than $165M, then it receives a 15% bonus. If the company size is over
$165M, it won’t receive any bonus and also the bonus is reduced if the company size becomes smaller to a bonus of 10% for those with a company size of $16.5M.
This should be leveraged well by Small Businesses and smaller large businesses to win on the ASTRO bid.

 

How to Prepare for GSA ASTRO

As is evident, the most critical factor in scoring is the proper selection of the 4 contracts. Large companies such as defense contractors who have a large number of contracts should start now if not already to select the best 4 out of the hundreds of projects that they have performed. Your contract manager(s) should certainly get involved. There are 15 variables involved in the selection of a contract and obviously selecting the contracts with the highest dollar amount is not going to get you on the vehicle. There is a 15-dimensional equation that needs to be solved.


The best method is to score each contract separately and then compare the final scores for the contracts. In addition, tools such as GDIC’s AI-driven Contract Selection Tool should be used when the number of contracts is over 20, when they are archives in different offices, or when you, as the GSA ASTRO Capture/Proposal Manager, do not have direct access to them and need to coordinate with others. These tools which scan through the public databases, can at times, save hundreds of hours of valuable staff time.


In summary, here are suggestions for ramping up your preparations:

  1. Form the team comprising of the capture and proposal managers, contracts manager, subcontracts manager and any other needed staff who can dig into your performed contracts
  2. If you have many contracts, use an AI tool, like GDIC’s Contract Selection Tool (CST) or something that you develop in-house, to search the public databases and help select some of the better scoring contracts.
  3. Create a Scoring Sheet in which you can compare the score of different contracts to pick the best. Here at GDIC, we have a proprietary Scoring Matrix that we use for our clients, but you can develop one in-house as well.
  4. Smaller businesses might consider creating joint ventures to increase their score.
  5. If you have not done Self-Scoring proposals before, DO NOT try to do it yourself. Find an expert company to do it and make sure that you don’t give it to a solo consultant or one-man company. This type of proposal needs multiple sets of eyes to prepare a fully compliant product.
  6. If you have done Self-Scoring proposals before, make sure that your proposal is reviewed by an outside firm. You don’t want to be disqualified for a small clerical mistake, nor do you want to underscore yourself. Get a team of experts to review your proposal and tell you how you can maximize your score.

 

What is the Procurement Timelines?

Here is the updated schedule up to the date of this white paper (February):

ASTRO Timeline

Conclusion

ASTRO is the GSA’s next major multiple award IDIQ competition. The collaboration between FEDSIM, DoD, and the industry, along with lessons learned from OASIS, has made GSA ASTRO a well-designed vehicle that provides significant value to most DoD customers. The way the evaluation system has been designed allows smaller businesses to move in and exert considerable competition for larger businesses with a high possibility of winning in many of the pools. Per our experience in previous self-scoring opportunities, this is an exercise of proper document management, proper compliance reviews and a lot of multi-dimensional equation solving. Let us know if we can help you win!

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