Draft RFP for Polaris IT contract nears end of comment period for small businesses
Small businesses have until Friday to comment on the General Services Administration’s draft request for proposals (RFP) for its latest information technology contract, which is aimed at growing the government’s pools of contractors.
Named Polaris after the “guiding star” in the night sky, the governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) is designed to increase competition at the task order level among three pools: small, women-owned and HUBZone businesses.
The multiple-award contract will help agencies buy emerging technologies like quantum computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain — as well as cybersecurity and cloud services — from the expanded pools.
GSA may eventually take Polaris contractors’ Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) into account. The Department of Defense requirement to ensure proper supply chain risk management (SCRM) could be used in civilian acquisitions, and contractors would be wise to get certified, according to the RFP.
“GSA reserves the right to require CMMC Level 1 certification as mandatory to be considered for the Polaris option as well as for any general Open Season or targeted onboarding opportunities,” reads the document.
The agency will use Section 876 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act to award Polaris task orders without considering prices for services acquired on an hourly-rate basis. That allows for pricing competition at the task order level.
And GSA retains the right to hold future open season “on-ramps” to add businesses to pools or create new pools after initial awards.
Already the agency released a draft RFP for a tool to better gauge supply chain risks of vendors under Polaris earlier this month.