GSA Boosts Ceiling to $50 Billion on Upcoming STARS III Contract

The General Services Administration on June 22 issued a presolicitation notice for its 8(a) Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resource for Services III (STARS III) government-wide acquisition contract, an IT vehicle that’s set aside for economically disadvantaged small businesses.

GSA announced that the estimated ceiling value of STARS III has been increased to $50 billion from the $15 billion that was set in an August 2019 draft RFP. The final RFP is expected to be released by mid-July.

The new, larger ceiling may be an effort to accommodate the popularity of STARS II, which reached its $15 billion spending ceiling in early May and forced GSA to adopt spending restrictions on new awards through the end of the contract’s period of performance in August 2021.

STARS II: Incumbent Spending

STARS II has become the government’s largest IT contract vehicle devoted to disadvantaged businesses. It has grown increasingly popular in recent years as a way for agencies to fulfill IT services requirements with small and minority-owned businesses.

Since the original award of STARS II in fiscal 2011, 59 agencies have obligated $10.4 billion to more than 600 8(a) vendors, with aggregate spending reaching a record $1.9 billion in fiscal 2019.

STARS III: Terms, Revisions

STARS III is assigned the same NAICS code as STARS II, 541512 (Computer Systems Design Services), which carries a $30 million small-business size standard. Many of the required services on the new vehicle are similar to the current vehicle: data management, information and communications technology, IT operations and maintenance, IT security, software development, and IT system design.

The presolicitation document establishes that eligible STARS III bidders must be certified 8(a) small businesses at the time of initial offer submission. Allowable teaming arrangements include 8(a) joint ventures and prime/sub arrangements that are accompanied by a subcontractor letter of commitment. STARS II incumbents will not be grandfathered onto the new contract.

The June 22 presolicitation notice states that interested bidders shouldn’t rely on the August 2019 draft RFP to prepare responses to the official solicitation. The new notice highlights several changes and revised terms:

• STARS III will not include Functional Areas tied to specific NAICS codes;

• There will be two scope sub-areas, one for emerging technology requirements and one for foreign places of performance;

• Two Relative Experience Projects (REPs) will be required, with each valued at $100,000 or greater. These must be ongoing or performed in the last five years;

• STARS III awardees will not be limited to using only the subcontractors identified in their proposal; and

• A supply chain risk management assessment will be required.

Monday’s release follows GSA’s announcement in early May that it had reached the $15 billion STARS II spending ceiling earlier than expected, and that any new STARS II orders would be subject to pre-approval by GSA on a requirement-by-requirement basis. Approval for new orders will be granted only if they are expected to be awarded in fiscal 2020, according to GSA’s 8(a) STARS II Control Number Policy.

The STARS II ordering period ends on August 30, 2021, and all STARS II tasks must be completed on or before August 30, 2024.

BGOV subscribers can receive STARS III updates by setting an opportunity alert on the solicitation.

For information on BGOV’s 8(a) STARS III bid preparation and the spending analysis webinar hosted on June 18, click here.

To contact the analyst: Paul Murphy in Washington at pmurphy@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Snyder at dsnyder@bgov.com; Jodie Morris at jmorris@bgov.com

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