At Rivera Group, we like to say “we exist to build great things,” and since 2002, we’ve done just that, providing custom IT solutions for federal and civilian agencies. If you’re not familiar with the GSA 8(a) STARS II GWAC, three major benefits – speed, reduced risk and compliance – make it easier to have us implement your next project.
What is GSA 8(a) STARS II?
Let’s begin by breaking down these acronyms, which can be confusing if you’re only casually acquainted with them:
- GSA stands for the General Services Administration, which handles product and service procurement support for other federal agencies, among other things.
- 8(a) refers to the business development program run by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to aid small, disadvantaged companies. Services include set-aside contracts earmarked for qualified businesses.
- STARS II GWAC stands for Streamlined Technology Application Resource for Services II Government-Wide Acquisition Contract, a multiple award, Indefinite-Deliver, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract to provide information technology (IT) services and IT services-based solutions, which may include the integration of ancillary support related to the IT services being acquired. 8(a) STARS II, or simply STARS II, is reserved for qualifying SBA certified 8(a) prime contractors with competitive pricing.
In short, the STARS II contract vehicle is a small business set-aside created to provide IT services to federal agencies from a large pool of pre-approved industry partners. This includes directed task orders up to $4 million.
The IT services covered by STARS II fall within four functional areas:
- Custom computer programming services: NAICS 541511
- Computer systems design services: NAICS 541512
- Computer facilities management services: NAICS 541513
- Other computer-related services: NAICS 541519
Finally, STARS II industry partners fall within a two-tiered Constellation system.
- Constellation I includes prime contractors vetted and deemed technically proficient, with competitive pricing. Rivera Group delivers services within this Constellation.
- Constellation II prime contractors are also vetted and deemed technically proficient, with competitive pricing, but also possess a Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level II+ Services or Development credential or an ISO 9001:2000 or 9001:2008 credential.
Now that you have a framework for understanding STARS II, let’s look at why you should be using this contract vehicle.
Because STARS II is a pre-competed, easy-to-use contract with streamlined ordering procedures based on FAR 16.505, procurement lead time is greatly reduced. When you factor in the scope of STARS II – a $10B program ceiling and five-year base period, with one five-year option – you have a vehicle that allows you to achieve results more quickly, as well as plan for the long-term.
The two-tiered Constellation system of classifying industry partners also speeds up the development cycle by offering a pool of vetted candidates to choose from. Restrictive protest rules all but eliminate the possibility of delay in implementing a solution.
STARS II is a great contract vehicle for IT projects that fall within the parameters of the program and need to be operational within a compressed timeframe.
Because industry partners participating in the STARS II program are thoroughly vetted, you can be be confident of skillful delivery of services within the four functional areas. Contract types include: fixed price, labor hour and time and material terms, which offers great flexibility aimed at mitigating risk.
The very nature of 8(a) industry partners means they are small and nimble, which translates to highly responsive. This flexibility, combined with the rigorous vetting and varying contracting structures, makes this contract vehicle very safe and effective.
STARS II is compliant with Section 843 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2008 and Section 860 of NDAA 2009. Further, FAR 16.505 lays out a Fair Opportunity process that supports best value awards.
In addition to this, STARS II industry partners are 8(a) participants, which means you’ll earn 8(a) small business credits by using this contract vehicle. For example, Rivera Group is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), a distinction that can be very helpful when making awards based on small business, small disadvantaged or service-disabled business classifications.
The bottom line here is that getting solutions launched quickly and safely doesn’t come at the price of running afoul of federal regulations. STARS II helps you achieve your goals while meeting federal standards for helping small businesses compete.
Getting Started with GSA 8(a) STARS II
Prior to issuing your first order under STARS II, you must meet a set of basic requirements before being issued a Delegation of Procurement Authority (DPA), which expedites direct awards through STARS II.
Select and complete one of the following GWAC DPA Training options:
- Review the 8(a) STARS II Ordering Guide
- Attend a regularly scheduled webinar
- Request a webinar, conference call or onsite training. To request training for your procurement team, email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org: Agency name; Individual names; Email; Phone number; Location (if onsite); and Contact information. When GSA receives the information, they will contact you to set up a date and time for your conference call or training
- Take an online course
Before issuing task orders on a GSA GWAC, federal contracting officers must complete training and receive a DPA.
- First, click here to request a DPA
- Next, complete the electronic form and click submit
- Finally, you will receive a Memorandum of Agreement from GSA via email (typically less than a day after you submit your information).
After requesting a DPA, GSA reviews the form and initiates the DPA. Once you’ve received confirmation, issue task orders on the selected GWACs as the need arises.
The GSA 8(a) STARS II GWAC simplifies the procurement of IT services for federal agencies. To learn more about STARS II or how Rivera Group can help you , drop us a line in the comments section below or contact us directly.