Breaking Down GSA’s Draft RFP For Polaris GWAC

By Global Services on January 6, 2021


On December 31, 2020, GSA released the Draft RFP for Polaris, the replacement for the canceled Alliant 2 Small Business contract vehicle.

GSA is requesting industry feedback on the Draft RFP. Any feedback is due to, using the provided response template (XLSX download), by 4:00 p.m. Central Time on January 29, 2021.


Polaris Scope of Work:

Polaris is an IT services contract vehicle and includes the following Performance Areas:

  • Cloud Services
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Management
  • Information and Communications Technologies
  • IT Operations and Maintenance (O&M)
  • Software Development
  • System Design
  • Ancillary Support (work necessary to offer an IT services-based solution, such as clerical support, data entry, IT products, etc.).

In addition, Polaris places special emphasis on innovative solutions and emerging technologies such as:

  • Advanced and Quantum Computing
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Automation Technology
  • Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) (e.g., blockchain)
  • Edge Computing
  • Immersive Technology (e.g., virtual reality and augmented reality).


Proposal Requirements:

The Polaris proposal consists of six volumes:

  • Volume 1 – General
  • Volume 2 – Relevant Experience
  • Volume 3 – Past Performance
  • Volume 4 – Systems, Certifications, and Clearances
  • Volume 5 – Risk Assessment
  • Volume 6 – Responsibility.

Volume 1 – General is an administrative volume that includes the Standard Form 33; Representations and Certifications; information on joint ventures, subcontractors, and affiliates, as applicable; professional employee compensation plan; uncompensated overtime policy; and self-scoring sheet.

Volume 2 – Relevant Experience is divided into two categories: (1) Primary Projects and (2) Emerging Technology Projects. It is allowable to use the same project(s) as both a Primary Project and an Emerging Project.

Note that it is NOT allowable for the same project to be used in more than one proposal within the same Pool under this solicitation. For instance, a company that is offering as a Prime, and is also on another team as a subcontractor, may only use any given project in one of the two offers, NOT in both.

A “project” is defined as a single contract or Task Order (TO), meaning it is not allowable to count multiple TOs under an IDIQ as a single project. Projects may be Federal, State, International Public Sector, or Commercial.

Primary Projects: Offerors may submit up to seven projects. Each project must be no less than $1M in total value, must be completed within the past five years or ongoing with at least one year of performance already complete, and must fall within one of the following five performance areas:

  1. Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services (NAICS 518210)
  2. Custom Computer Programming Services (NAICS 541511)
  3. Computer Systems Design Services (NAICS 541512)
  4. Computer Facilities Management Services (NAICS 541513)
  5. Other Computer Related Services (NAICS 541519).

The Primary Projects gain additional points as follows:

  • Dollar value:
    • Additional points if the project is greater than $2M and less than $5M
    • More points if the project is greater than $5M and less than $15M
    • Even more points if the project is greater than or equal to $15M.
  • Multiple Federal customers as Prime: the more distinct Federal customers (up to a maximum of five) that the submitted projects include, the more points awarded.
  • Cost Reimbursement: Additional points for up to two Federal cost-reimbursement type contracts.
  • TO Award under a Multiple Award IDIQ (as Prime): each project of this type gains additional points.
  • OCONUS work: a maximum of one project will gain extra points for OCONUS work. There is no score boost for having more than one. Temporary duty does not count; all or a portion of the work must have been performed OCONUS for an extended period of time.
  • Subcontracting: a maximum of three projects will gain additional points if they included at least two subcontractors
  • Cloud services: a maximum of three projects will gain additional points if they include cloud services
  • Cybersecurity services: a maximum of three projects will gain additional points if they include cybersecurity services
  • Breadth of primary relevant experience performance areas: the more of the five Primary Project Performance Areas covered, the more points received.

Emerging Technology Projects: Offerors may submit up to six projects. They must be valued no less than $150K, have been completed within the past five years or be ongoing with at least one year of performance complete, and must fall within one of the following Emerging Technology categories:

  1. Advanced and Quantum Computing
  2. AI
  3. Automation Technology
  4. DLT
  5. Edge Computing
  6. Immersive Technology

Additional points are awarded for the breadth of emerging technologies covered. That is, it is worth more points to provide one project under each of the six categories than it is to provide six projects under one category.

Volume 3 – Past Performance: past performance documentation must be submitted for three of the Primary Projects listed above. If a CPAR exists, that must be used; if not, a PPQ must be used instead.

Volume 4 – Systems, Certifications, and Clearances: the items in this volume are NOT mandatory, but offerors who have them gain additional points. The items are:

  • An accounting system audited and determined adequate by Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), or another Cognizant Federal Agency (CFA)
  • A purchasing system approved by DCAA, DCMA, or any CFA
  • Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Certification – Level 2 or higher. Level 3 is worth more points than Level 2.
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 certification
  • ISO 20000-1:2018 certification
  • ISO / International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 27001:2013 certification
  • Facility Clearance Level (FCL) of Secret or Top Secret. Top Secret is worth more points than Secret.

Volume 5 – Risk Assessment: This volume is divided into two parts. Each part is point-scored.

  • Organizational Risk Assessment. To receive points:
    • Individual companies offering as themselves do not need to provide additional documentation
    • Joint Ventures must provide documentation that the JV has previously performed on a contract or order (i.e., it isn’t a brand-new JV with no previous work)
    • Prime-Sub teams must provide documentation that EACH subcontractor has previously performed on a contract or order as a subcontractor to the Prime offeror.
  • Limitations on Subcontracting Compliance Risk:
    • This section is applicable ONLY to the HUBZone and WOSB pools
    • To receive points, the offeror must demonstrate that at least 50% of the Primary Experience projects submitted in Volume 2 were performed by the Offeror itself or by a similarly situated entity.

Volume 6 – Responsibility: this volume includes a cybersecurity and supply chain risk management assessment, as well as documentation of adequate financial resources (via GSA Form 527).


Questions Remaining for Polaris:

We know the proposal will be self-scored and what the current scored elements are, but we do not yet know the point values associated with each element. As a result, it is possible for interested vendors to get a general sense of how they will fare, but not to determine a precise score.

Moreover, since this is a Draft RFP, it is entirely possible that the scored elements may change when the Final RFP is released.

Nevertheless, now is the time for interested firms to begin assessing their qualifications and past performance against the expected scoring elements.


Interested in pursuing this high-profile contract vehicle? Contact Global Services today to learn how we can help!