Confusing Sole Source Procurement

NASA Solicitation: Space Exploration Technologies and Systems

"This is a notice of our intent to award a contract on a noncompetitve basis to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) for the following services." ... "b) Systems Engineering and Analysis - Systems engineering activities essential to defining problems and requirements, assessing or devising technical approaches and concepts, and developing baselines (e.g., models, architectures, specifications) useful for continued development and/or integration. This includes performing bench marking and evaluation activities such as critical experiments, analyses, simulations, trade studies, and tests." ... "These services are not available elsewhere in a UARC or Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) environment in their entirety and, while not quantifiable, could not be duplicated without substantial investment of effort and other resources over a period of years."

Editor's note: According to a NASA source, this procurement is the result of H.Rpt. 108-792 - Making Appropriations for Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2005, and for Other Purposes which says "The conferees agree to provide $2,000,000 for establishment of a NASA program office at the Applied Physics Laboratory [APL] for the purpose of administering all existing contracts between NASA and APL, including those under the LWS Program. The APL program office will report directly to the Associate Administrator for Science."

No mention is made within this procurement notice of this Congressional direction as the real reason for this procurement, nor of the amount of funding involved. In addition, the tasks described in this procurement notice seem to be much more expansive than the simple two sentence description provided by Congress. Also, if this is simply meeting a congressional earmark, then why does NASA include all of the information needed for others to show their qualifications to do the job - so as to allow a decision to be made whether or not to compete this? If NASA intends to award this to JHU anyway, isn't this all just a charade?

Editor's earlier post:

NASA looks at insourcing, FCW.com

"... Griffin said he wants to offer fewer opportunities for businesses to get a piece of NASA research. "There will be fewer of those opportunities rather than more, and they will largely be directed by NASA rather than merely be put up for grabs by industry," he said. "I don't have a percentage, but there is a change."

NASA Special Notice: Policy Statement Concerning the ESMD Systems Engineering and Integrated Services Procurement

"NASA has concluded that Government personnel at Headquarters and NASA Centers will implement systems engineering and integration in Constellation Systems and other areas of the Exploration program. Consequently, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate will not be releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an Industry systems engineering and integration contractor."

Editor's note: I am a little confused. Mike Griffin tells everyone that he wants to either retain in-house SE&I expertise (and other skills) at NASA - or rebuild it. Yet now he's decided that his former employer is an exception to that rule - moreover he wants to do so in a manner which is not even open to competition?

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on July 10, 2005 1:55 PM.

Griffin's 90-Day Report was the previous entry in this blog.

Dr. Griffin is Out of the Office is the next entry in this blog.

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