A day in the world of federal contracting isn’t complete without a new acronym named contracting opportunity. Enter PTAPSS! What is PTAPSS? In short this is a contract used by the Department of State to fill a wide variety of staff augmentation needs at several locations around the U.S. and some overseas postings. This may not sound very exciting on the surface, but further study of PTAPSS reveals an opportunity that should appeal to many small businesses. The reality is these functions are as essential to day-to-day operations.
WHAT DOES PTAPSS DO?
Simply put PTAPSS is staff augmentation. When State needs some additional people or short-term (based on analysis the short-term aspect is dubiously defined) technical expertise it can turn to PTAPSS for staff augmentation in the areas of: accounting, administration, court reporting, transportation services, library services, printing and production support, procurement, project management, financial and management analysts, technical writing.
Refer to the original RFP to read up on the details as there is some variance by geographic location (more later on the locations). The original RFP also has some more details on the labor category descriptions if you’re interested.
HIGHLIGHTS ON PTAPSS REQUIREMENTS
Beyond placing staff in billets opened up by State the PTAPSS contract covers multiple sites in the U.S. and an unspecified number of sites at State operations overseas. The known locations serviced by PTAPSS include:
- Dallas, TX
- Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Houston, TX
- Lexington, KY
- Los Angeles/Santa Ana, CA
- Lubbock, TX
- Miami, FL
- New Hampshire, Statewide
- New York City, NY
- Savannah, GA
- Washington, DC
You might be wondering how fast State expects its contractors to respond to requirements. Many staff augmentation contracts require rapid responses to meet emerging (or unplanned) needs. The previous solicitation states:
At the time a task order is issued the contractor shall submit resumes for individuals that it reasonably expects to perform under the task order within 48 hours from receiving an e-mail from the Contracting Officer at DOS [State] requesting labor services.
Security clearances are also a requirement as stated below.
…when requested, the Contractor shall provide personnel that can receive Defense Security Systems (DSS) Top Secret clearances at time of award of the contract…All personnel performing under this contract shall be U.S. citizens with a security clearance at the SECRET or TOP SECRET level with eligibility for indoctrination to Special Compartmented Information (SCI) and Cryptographic access, if required by their position and assignment. The clearance shall be upgraded to the access granted within the processing time as determined by DISCO or the adjudicating authority.
Note the specific guidance on facility security clearances.
Offerors must ultimately possess a Defense Security Service (DSS) Top Secret Facility Security Clearance (FCL) for contract performance. Firms with an FCL at a lower level (Interim Secret or Final Secret) would be eligible for contract award but will be limited to competing on task orders up to the Secret level only. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security will sponsor selected Offerors who are either uncleared or who only possess an Interim Secret or Final Secret FCL for a Top Secret FCL.
How about citizenship requirements? Simply put…
All employees hired by the contractor must be a U.S. citizen.
WHO WHO’S IN THE PTAPSS ZOO?
Originally, PTAPSS was only going to be awarded to four contractors. When PTAPSS was finally awarded, but the final count of awardees reached nine. State elected to make three (3) categories of awards – SDVOSB, HUBZONE and 8(a) –with three contractors each. Who are the PTAPSS contractors? How active has PTAPSS been? Let the numbers tell the story.
|Contract Obligations by Federal Fiscal Year|
|Contractor Name||Part of PTAPSS||2009||2010||2011||2012||TOTAL|
|Henderson Group Unlimited||HUBZONE||$128,053||$9,217,362||$5,284,475||$11,340,647||$25,970,537|
|Global Solutions Network||HUBZONE||$0||$3,077,557||$2,984,011||$3,412,369||$9,473,937|
|Ian, Evan & Alexander (IEA) Corporation||SDVOSB||$0||$1,100,916||$3,401,558||$3,092,900||$7,595,374|
|McManis & Monsalve Associates||HUBZONE||$0||$1,547,357||$2,438,860||$2,699,664||$6,685,880|
|Renhill Staffing Services||8(a)||$0||$1,133,308||$1,086,119||$881,659||$3,101,086|
Diving deeper reveals who has really benefited from PTAPSS. The 8(a) category has thrived far more than their HUBZONE and SDVOSB peers (not that the others have done poorly).
|Contract Obligations by Federal Fiscal Year|
|Category of PTAPSS Contractor||2009||2010||2011||2012||TOTAL|
Each group has a clear leader. The 8(a) category is led by Miracle Systems, LLC with the Henderson Group Unlimited and ATSG, LLC leading the HUBZONE and SDVOSB categories, respectively. PTAPSS gets even more interesting when I explore which contractor wins what types of work.
Miracle Systems is winning substantial amounts of work in general administrative support and program management support. Henderson Group Unlimited has won the leading shares in contract management, acquisition support and policy review. ATSG has won several task orders covering a wide variety of services spread fairly evenly across administrative support, program management support and acquisition support.
If all options are exercised, PTAPSS contracts expire in July 2014. The acquisition cycle could start as early as summer 2013, but more likely it will slide to the right into fall or even winter 2013. Consider a few factors in terms of incumbency. First and foremost the current NAICS is 561110 with a size standard (going forward with 2012 changes) of $7 million. When the competition comes around it is very likely (based on disclosed information and analysis of prime contracting activity) that as many as six of the nine current prime contractors will be above the size standard. Consider the 8(a) category of contractors we have one (Beacon) already graduated from the 8(a) program and another graduating next summer (Renhill). The bottom line is the majority of incumbents will not likely be eligible to re-compete as prime contractors. This opens up some very good opportunities for others to pursue.
- PTAPSS offers a diverse set of contracting opportunities that could very well bolster your long-term past performance
- Several incumbent PTAPSS prime contractors will not be able to compete as anything but a subcontractor
- This contract has had a very steady funding stream since its first full year of operation in 2010…not sure to what degree the imminent budget cuts will impact this but expect some
- Average total contract obligations per year was just over $48 million since FY2010 with a steady trend upwards
- PTAPSS is used across State as a whole thereby giving you potential access throughout the agency
- Obviously this opportunity’s appeal could change depending on the federal budget when and if it is resolved
Keep tuned to the Department of State to learn more about the opportunity as it unfolds.
Stay focused. Do your capture homework. There are some great opportunities out there. Good hunting!