FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director, Media Relations
Arlington, Va. (Jan. 31, 2023)
On January 20, 2023, the Professional Services Council (PSC) raised several serious concerns with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) approach to its $60+ billion Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation 2 (T4NG2) contract. Noting that the VA allowed only four business days for industry to submit comments on this contract’s draft request for proposals (RFP) and indicated a February 2023 release for the final RFP, PSC’s comments
specifically highlighted the adverse impacts—to fair and open competition within the U.S. industrial base and to the VA’s access to innovative solutions that support timely, high-quality healthcare for our nation’s veterans—that could result from this aggressive timeline.
PSC therefore strongly encouraged VA officials to: (1) improve communication and transparency with industry about the Department’s approach to the T4NG2 vehicle, including an interactive exchange of ideas rather than a scripted Q&A session; (2) allow at least four weeks for industry to submit meaningful feedback on the draft RFP; and (3) adjudicate and integrate comments, as appropriate, in a thoughtful process before releasing the final RFP. Given recent examples of comparable U.S. Government vehicles, such as GSA’s OASIS+ multi-award contract draft RFP, PSC believes such a deliberate process to finalize the T4NG2 RFP would take at least two months.
“Given the tremendous size, scope, and significance of this contract, the VA should make every effort to promote transparency and engagement with industry and to encourage competition,” said Krista Sweet, PSC’s VP for Civilian Agencies. “While recognizing the VA’s commitment to the timely delivery of veterans’ health services, the T4NG2 rollout and rushed timeline are jeopardizing that goal.”
Sweet continued, “This aggressive rush to finalize the RFP signals to industry that the government only wants to ‘check the box’ for issuing a draft RFP but is not seeking meaningful feedback. We understand that the VA has scheduled a session in which government officials will provide scripted answers to already-submitted questions. However, the VA and its contracting partners cannot adequately discuss complex topics, such as joint ventures and teaming agreements, scorecard rules and weighting, and organizational conflicts of interest, in such a limited format. And without sufficient time, consideration, and dialogue, both well-established and new offerors will find it difficult to pursue this opportunity.”
To encourage a much-needed exchange of ideas and information, PSC indicated in its comments a willingness to convene a discussion involving VA officials and PSC member companies. “PSC encourages acquisition leadership from the Department of Veterans Affairs and its Technology Acquisition Center to engage more openly and deliberately with its contracting partners,” Sweet said. “We stand ready to support the VA in this effort.”