TQS’s Contingency Acquisition Support Model (cASM)
Contingency Acquisition Support Model (cASM) is an Enterprise software application for the Department of Defense which automates the pre-contract award procurement process, making it worldwide accessible, paperless, secure, and efficient for users.
Service members tasked with acquiring/purchasing something (materials, services, or construction) to support their mission can be hampered by the lack of experienced personnel. Federal Acquisition Regulations and contracting command requirements and processes are not easily known unless there is extensive training. Non-acquisition personnel have had difficulty concerning what is truly required for the pre-award process – the “How To” and “What is Required” – standard documents that must be used, and the correct staffing process for a requirements package (RP) to be used by a contracting officer. In addition, the Department of Defense has not standardized the pre-contract award process, as it varies amongst the Services and even within their own organizations. In past years the DoD has only provided Resource Managers and Contracting Offices with job-specific, non-interoperable tools (such as General Fund Enterprise Business Systems (GFEBS) and the Standard Procurement System (SPS)), yet units need an automated tool to help them create and staff the pre-award requirement packet, as service members and units do not have much more than blue folders, Microsoft Word, and Excel. In fact, it was discovered that over 20 versions of some type of pre-contract award support tools have been deployed by units to fill the massive gap throughout the different services. In addition, retaining this important documentation in a combat zone has been problematic with issues such as folders getting misplaced, paperwork going up in smoke, problems with traceability of certain procurements, and incomplete transition of workload to personnel rotating in and out of the AOR on a regular basis. An automated system had to be created and deployed to support more rapid logistics support to the Warfighter.
In 2009, the DoD and the Secretary of the Army supported findings from the Gansler Commission that showed the majority of all contracting issues started with poorly established requirement packages, loss of oversight during the pre-award and the tremendous confusing non-standard pre-award staffing processes. The commission exposed another massive issue –service members/units used non-standard, in-garrison developed tools in contingency environments. From these discoveries, and evidence presented to the DoD, the cASM system was designed and developed for the non-acquisition professional service member to use both in-garrison and the contingency environment. It assists the service members/units in developing and staffing standard pre-award packages through simple automated business rules, assisting in the pre-award planning and pre-award reporting, and it provides Services complete oversight of all its pre-award requirements.
cASM is an easy-to-use, web-based tool used to initiate, develop, track, and transmit pre-award procurement requirement packages. The system was built specifically for the worldwide support of initiating pre-award process in an expeditionary environment. The system is a one-of-a-kind pre-award system (owned by the DoD) for supporting three pre-award functional areas: Planning allows the units to develop, translate, deliberate, develop contingency and exercise procurement plans for future contingency operations throughout the world into ready-to-go, actionable pre-award requirement packages; Requirements Generation allows the units to develop and provide FAR/DFARS compliant documents, local forms and the capability to staff pre-award requirements package in a standard, automated and efficient manner; and Reporting provides units with the capacity to sort and retrieve specific data to facilitate audits, status reporting, oversight tracking, and accountability of the pre-award requirements generation process (including allocated funding).
cASM delivers a real-time and efficient business solution that reduces mistakes, re-work, and acquisition cycle time by:
1) Providing the appropriate document and process for numerous acquisition types,
2) Automatically generating the initial draft of each document based on user responses to a tailored cASM-generated questionnaire,
3) Identifying the FAR/DFARS compliant documents required to define a requirement,
4) Filling in documents as-you-go by prompting the user for needed information,
5) Electronically routing/staffing the documents to the appropriate reviewers and approvers,
6) Enabling the “enter once, use many” data capture best practice, and
7) Alerting cASM users, individuals or groups via email when it is their responsibility to take action on a requirement packet in a standard, automated workflow.
When completed (and automatically verified), the cASM generated pre-award package is transmitted in Purchase Request Data Standard (PRDS) compliant [.xml] data files through the Global Exchange (GEX) where it is digitally submitted to the appropriate DoD contract writing system and Contracting Officer. The cASM application is securely accessible (using the PKI certificate enabled DoD Common Access Card) worldwide on the DoD Global Information Grid and is compliant with all DoD security requirements.