Wyden Asks Forest Service to Answer Questions About Proposed New Helicopter Contracting Systems for Wildfire Fighting
Oregon senator: “I have heard a number of concerns raised about proposed changes the Forest Service is making to its contracting process for the helicopter fleet moving forward”
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden this week asked the U.S. Forest Service to answer several questions about its proposed modifications to contracts for helicopters that fight wildfires in Oregon and nationwide.
“Helicopters play a critical role in America’s wildland firefighting arsenal and it is important to ensure they remain a viable tool for fire managers,” Wyden wrote in his letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “I have heard a number of concerns raised about proposed changes the Forest Service is making to its contracting process for the helicopter fleet moving forward. I want to be sure that the agency has answered these fully, and understands the consequences, before issuing its Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC) solicitation for Helicopter Support Services.”
The letter is based on concerns raised by several Oregon helicopter companies that the proposed switch from Best Value contracts to Multiple Award Task Order contracts could threaten the longevity and technical capabilities of the Forest Service’s helicopter arsenal.
Wyden asked for answers to the following questions raised by Oregon helicopter companies:
- For fully set-aside task orders, how will the agency determine fair market value under the Federal Acquisition Regulations?
- How will the agency account for future changes in business size and structure after contracts are awarded?
- How might the switch from using the Tradeoff process to determine best value to using the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable process affect the Service provided?
- How will the agency ensure that changes to the evaluation criteria provide incentives to the vendors to improve Payload Performance, improve Safety Management System compliance, improve Organizational Past Performance (Customer Service) and improve Organizational Experience?
- How will a one-year contract with four or nine option years provide stability to companies that are being asked to make significant technology investments?
- If drastic changes to the contract structure results in fewer bidders, how will the agency ensure it is obtaining fair market value for the funds Congress appropriates?
The entire letter is here.
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