The Insider

Industry groups criticize ENCORE III terms

April 29, 2016 |
Marjorie Censer
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Two industry groups have sent a letter to Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall arguing the Defense Information Systems Agency is wrongly using the lowest-priced, technically acceptable contracting approach for its multiple-award vehicle, worth up to $17.5 billion.

The letter, sent last week by the Professional Services Council and the IT Alliance for Public Sector, is aimed at the ENCORE III program, for which the request for proposals was released in March.

"In our opinion, LPTA is the incorrect source selection process to use for ENCORE III, and its use directly contradicts your March 2015 memo on the appropriate use of LPTA," the letter says. "We have repeatedly raised our concern about the use of LPTA for ENCORE III and we have received no substantive response from DISA."

In the 2015 memo the letter references, Kendall wrote that LPTA is the appropriate approach "only when there are well-defined requirements, the risk of unsuccessful contract performance is minimal, price is a significant factor in the source selection, and there is neither value, need, nor willingness to pay for higher performance."

Industry executives have long complained LPTA is being overused, and Kendall has publicly said he's clarified DOD's policy.

But the new letter claims the "technological complexity" of the solutions to be bought under ENCORE III as well as the "disparate technical capabilities" of competitors necessitate a different buying strategy.

The letter says it "is troubling that a contract used to procure such complex information technology (IT) services intended to support 'information superiority' is being awarded on price and not the qualities that would deliver a technological edge to our warfighters" and argues that a cost/technical tradeoff source selection approach should be used.