Marine Corps: Contracting Trends and a Move toward Transparency

Published: October 16, 2018


The Marine Corps has been considered by some to be a difficult agency for contracting, in part, due to perceived exclusiveness and lack of transparency. By seeking insights into the agency’s contracting trends, vendors might gain a greater, overall understanding of the agency and its requirements. What are past contracting trends and where has the Marine Corps allocated its funds? Analyzing Marine Corps data over the past few fiscal years may provide insight into future contracting needs for both current and prospective vendors alike.

Considering the time range between FY 2015-FY 2017, the Marine Corps has seen an approximate 14% decrease in spending comparing FY 2015 to FY 2017, with a reported increase between FY 2016 to FY 2017 of around 3.2%. FY 2018 spending is currently being reported at around $2.5M, with the amount expected to increase as agency fiscal reporting delays pass and full fiscal year data becomes available.


Within the past 3 fiscal years, the Marine Corps has overwhelmingly favored IT procurements when taking into account all spending category types. IT accounted for around 39% of spending among the categories within the same timeframe. The remaining top four categories, outlined in the chart below, equaled a combined 43% of spending within this same timeframe. Per the current reported FY 2018 data to date, IT is currently coming in at approximately 33% of reported obligations with Professional Services presently in second at around 19%.


The FY17 DoD Small Business contracting goals as are follows: 22% Small Business, 5% for WOSB and SDB, and 3% for HUBZone and SDVOSB. Using the overall DoD Small Business contracting goals when viewing FY 2017 Marine Corps Small Business percentages, the agency exceeded the goals in all socioeconomic categories except Small Disadvantaged and HUBZone, which fell short by less than one percentage. All socioeconomic categories, except HUBZone, reported an increase in obligations from FY 2016-FY 2017. With the addition or subtraction of slight fluctuations comparing the fiscal year spending data, all socioeconomic set-asides have seen around the same overall spending year over year between the FY 2015 to FY 2017 timeframe. From analyzing the FY 2018 obligations being reported at this point, it appears these trends will continue once full fiscal year spending is reported and is likely to exhibit comparable socioeconomic spending.


Moving on to the Marine Corps’ preferred contract vehicles, from FY 2015-FY 2017, around $3B was spent through the use of vehicles, to include GSA Schedules. SeaPort-e accounted for the most spending between FY 2015-FY 2017, seeing approximately 25% of total spending within this timeframe. The second most utilized vehicle within this timeframe is NGEN, which saw about 9.8% of obligations. GSA Schedule 70 came in as a close third accounting for approximately 9.1% of spending over the three fiscal year period. With the NGEN contract approaching its end, the spending under this vehicle should decrease as the contract ends and the NGEN EUHW and SMIT requirements are awarded and begin to be utilized.


As far as opportunities are concerned, the largest upcoming requirement for the Marine Corps is the procurement of the replacement contract for Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC) Advertising Services. The Government released market research in May 2018 and Deltek is anticipating the Solicitation to be released in FY19. This contract is anticipated to provide advertising services, to include production and support and the utilization of various advertising formats. The incumbent contract with J. Walter Thompson has an estimated reported value of $1.1B. Deltek is tracking this requirement under Opportunity Report 165560.

By examining past Marine Corps contracting data, vendors interested in future contracting opportunities may gain a better understanding of how to advance with the agency. With the increase in responsiveness of contracting officials over the past several years, vendors may be able to market their services and products with greater ease. The Marine Corps has also begun to publish procurement and strategic agency briefs on a more frequent basis, which could allow vendors greater access to the agency itself and increased knowledge of the direction the agency is heading with the future capabilities it is seeking.