MIDDLE EAST DISTRICT
Pre-Proposal Conference held Feb. 18
The Middle East District hosted a pre-proposal conference on Feb. 18 for two contracts
that will provide operations and maintenance (O&M) services to the Afghanistan National
Security Forces (ANSF). Thirty-nine contractors representing 28 international firms at-
tended the conference.
The contracts are critical to Afghanistan Engineer Districts North and South as they pro-
vide contracted O&M services to Afghanistan National Army and Afghanistan National Po-
lice sites and facilities.
“This suite of contracts is vital to allow work to continue unabated,” said Col. Ron Light,
MED commander, in opening remarks. “These contracts will help keep facilities in service-
able condition for the ANSF. This work is critical for both the U.S. and Afghanistan govern-
The ANSF is charged with security and law enforcement missions that are the backbone
of long-term stability in Afghanistan. In 2002, the ANSF was envisioned to have 140,000
people but it has grown to 230,000 people. Those forces operate from 190 sites nation-
wide with several more under construction.
“We have done our level best to take the requirements from the field and put them in a
package that’s biddable,” Light said. “The Afghanistan Districts have done their best to
equip us to equip you for these projects. But we know there are gaps, and this pre-
proposal conference helps us understand what you see as gaps in this contract. We en-
courage you to ask questions. We are committed to being transparent and responding to
MED will award two firm-fixed-price, performance-based, standalone task order con-
tracts for the northern and southern regions of Afghanistan. The contracts will replace ex-
isting contracts that will expire this summer.
According to Elizabeth Chien, AED-North has an O&M contract in place to service Afghan
National Army facilities and two contracts in place to service Afghan National Police facili-
ties – one in the north and one in the south. Chein is the O&M program manager for AED-
Contrack International Inc. holds the current contract for the Army facilities, and Lotfi
Construction Company and ANHAM-AFGS joint venture hold the contracts for the police
With the new acquisition, AED-North combined the requirements for contracts that will
have a capacity of $450 million for the northern portion of the country and $350 million for
the southern portion of the country.
Contractors can bid on one solicitation or both.
The conference was structured with four presentations, all tied to specific portions of the
request for proposal (RFP) documents to ensure contractors completely understand the
Kathleen Achord, Contracting Division, provided an overview of the solicitation.
Kanwal Nain and Louis Martinez, Services Section of Construction-Operations Divi-
sion, discussed the performance work statement, the portion of the RFP detailing the
services the contractor is required to perform.
Melody Ciulo, Contracting Division, discussed price/cost.
And Michael Graham, Contract Administration Branch, detailed the instructions, con-
ditions and notices to bidders and the basis of award.
Achord told offerors that they must complete all submissions accurately and follow the
instructions “to the letter” in the government’s request for proposal.
“The three most critical sections of the solicitation are Section C, the performance work
statement; Section L, which tells offerors what to address in their proposals and how to
submit proposals; and Section M, which tells offerors how proposals will be evaluated,”
The performance work statement requires the contractor to perform scheduled preven-
tive maintenance, checks and services; maintenance and repair services; and systems and
infrastructure support services, including alterations and minor construction.
Nain and Martinez emphasized the diversity of the O&M service requirements.
“These are independent solicitations, with the work located throughout various prov-
inces and in multiple locations,” Martinez said. “The package has an extensive list of dia-
grams. You will be called on to service facilities ranging from an entire base to a single
checkpoint. The ANSF sites and facilities in Northern Afghanistan may differ significantly
from their counterparts in Southern Afghanistan.”
Martinez also emphasized the training requirement for ANSF engineering personnel.
“The contract has a requirement that supports the capacity development program through
the provision of on-the-job vocational training. The training portions contribute to the goal
of empowering the host nation and building sustainable outcomes.”
Contractors will train ANSF personnel in O&M procedures, quality inspections, fire and
safety, disaster response, work order processing, mechanical and electrical, carpentry,
plumbing, air conditioning and other trades.
Nain said that security is another factor that varies throughout the country.
Roger Thomas, chief of Construction-Operations Division, said that security is one ele-
ment of the “province factor” that offerors must consider. “It may well cost the same to
provide services for a certain type of facility anywhere in the country. But there are other
considerations in this environment. The province factor is what you use to price your un-
knowns and site specific information,” Thomas said.
Ciulo told contractors that their price proposals must have “live” Microsoft Excel files
and not Adobe .pdf files. “We must have live Excel spreadsheets for the bid schedule and
contract line item price spreadsheets to determine if the proposal is mathematically cor-
rect,” she said.
Graham detailed the proposal preparation instructions. He also explained that the gov-
ernment will award the contracts on the basis of best value using the tradeoff process.
Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the government may use the tradeoff process
to select the most advantageous offer based on price and non-pricing factors. This method
allows the government to determine how much weight to give pricing and non-pricing fac-
tors used in the acquisition and then apply those weights in its evaluation and in selecting
Graham also discussed the four evaluation factors – experience, management and tech-
nical approach, past performance, and price – and their weights in terms of overall impor-
tance during the evaluation.
He emphasized that contractors must prepare their proposals “in sufficient detail to al-
low the government to evaluate the proposed approach and qualifications.”
During the conference, several firms indicated they had not received solicitation infor-
To rectify the situation, MED provided a copy of the RFP on CD and emphasized that
amendments or changes would be provided through a password-protected website. MED
subsequently posted this notice on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
In addition, to ensure a level playing field, the proposal due date was extended from
March 4 to March 18.
Light told contractors that the Corps of Engineers relies on them. “Without you, we can’t
get our business done,” he said. “This is a tough environment to work in. This is a complex
acquisition. Our commitment to you is to provide you with all the information we can, and
we will answer your questions. The successful end state is successful contracts delivering
O&M services on behalf of our government to the Afghanistan government.”
MED expects to award the contracts in late May.