Planning for a replacement of the NETCENTS 2 Products contract is underway

Published: July 18, 2018

USAFInformation TechnologyInformation Technology

Follow-ons to various NETCENTS 2 (NC2) contract suites are continuing to move forward. The first to be initiated was the Small Business Enterprise Applications Solutions IDIQ (or SBEAS). The AF IT Products BPA (see GovWin Opp ID 161210) will be the second. The Products BPA, however, is not expected to be a stand-alone MA / IDIQ, and will not exactly mirror its predecessor, NC2 Products.

Overview of NC2 Products, the incumbent program: scope, value, spending, and how it fits into the AF IT picture

The NETCENTS 2 Products (NC2 Products) effort is one of multiple contract suites that make up the NETCENTS 2 program. Within the family of NC2 contracts, NC2 Products was, in simple terms, the designated hardware and software contract. To be more specific, it provided “networking equipment, servers/storage/peripherals/multimedia, software, identity management/biometric hardware and software, and desktop COTS software.”

The total ceiling value is $6.9B, and the ordering period expires in November 2019. Over $3B has been obligated as of July 2018.

NC2 Products, however, is not the Air Force’s only mandatory-use enterprise-wide IT products and software contract. Air Force customers with IT requirements are instructed to first review whether a given requirement can be fulfilled through existing Enterprise License Agreements, through DoD’s Enterprise Software Initiative, or through the hardware contracts set up by the Air Force’s IT Commodity Council.

Comparison between the incumbent and the follow-on: notable changes and similarities

For ease of reference, below is a quick comparison of the two efforts based on currently available information:

Based on the above, there are certainly some notable differences between the two efforts in terms of the number of potential contracts that may result, the use of Schedule 70, and the use of BPAs.

That said, other key features of NC2 Products will remain in place:

  • The BPA will be a mandatory-use contract for Air Force customers
  • Air Force specific standards and configurations from NC2 Products will be maintained
  • Supply Chain Risk Management will be a continued focus
  • The Air Force will have a defined but competitive pool of vendors from which to buy needed products from

These similarities signal the Air Force’s intent to continue some of the objectives it set out when putting in place NC2 Products and NC2 overall, namely: 

  • Reducing IT support costs by leveraging buying power for better pricing
  • Reducing IT support costs by having common standards and fewer configurations to maintain
  • Having more streamlined procurement procedures and processes

Important FYIs and considerations: teaming, competition, and getting on Schedule 70

Teaming and competition

As was noted via a May 2018 PEO-CEO Conference, teaming for BPA RFQs is allowed. With respect to the competitive landscape, all but two NETCENTS 2 Products vendors have currently active Schedule 70 contracts in at least one SIN.

Getting a Schedule 70 contract in preparation for the solicitation

In June of 2018, the Air Force noted that a solicitation for the IT Products BPA could be issued to Schedule 70 vendors in possibly late CY 2018. With that, the window to get on Schedule 70 in time for the RFP is narrowing. According to the Schedule 70 FAQ, GSA strives to award a contract within 120 days or less. This ‘120-day’ time frame, however, is not set in stone. Some factors that could affect it, and that should be accounted for, include:

  • The length of time it takes to put together the Schedule 70 proposal in the first place
  • The complexity of the proposal and number of items being proposed
  • Proposal revisions that may be needed
  • End of Fiscal Year spending ramping up - particularly through Schedules and Schedule 70 - and the time constraints this may place on Schedule 70 POCs

What’s next for NETCENTS 2 follow-ons? A potential slowing of activity until the early 2020s…

Two NC2 contract suites now have follow-ons actively in the works. But once SBEAS and the AF IT Products BPA are awarded, NC2 follow-on activity may not pick up again until potentially the early 2020s. This is due to the fact that the ordering periods of the remaining three NC2 contract suites (see below) don’t expire until 2022.