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Request for Information: Sandia National Laboratories and Kansas City Plant Acquisition Strategy

Solicitation Number: SNL_KCP_Acquisition_Strategy
Agency: Department of Energy
Office: Federal Locations
Location: All DOE Federal Contracting Offices
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Special Notice
Added: Aug 08, 2012 1:27 pm


This notice constitutes a RFI as contemplated by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 10.002(b)(2)(iii) and FAR 15.201. The purpose of this RFI is to initiate an exchange of information with industry and other interested parties, including other Federal agencies, on potential acquisition alternatives, while promoting vigorous full and open competition. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has established a website at
for the dissemination and exchange of information related to the Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and Kansas City Plant (KCP) Acquisition Strategy.


In conjunction with the decision to conduct a competition for the management and operation (M&O) of SNL, NNSA is considering the potential benefits and challenges of acquisition strategies that include combining all or part of the SNL work scope with M&O work now performed at one or more other sites, including the KCP. Physical relocation of facilities and mission operations is not under consideration. NNSA is seeking information from industry, consistent with FAR 10.002(b)(2)(iii) and FAR 15.201, to assist it with market research for follow-on competition for the SNL M&O contract (DE-AC04-94AL85000) and the KCP M&O contract (DE-NA0000622). As previously announced, the SNL M&O contract (expires September 30, 2012) is being extended by one year (to September 30, 2013), with two additional three-month options, to be exercised if needed. The KCP M&O contract expires September 30, 2013, and includes two one-year options, which could extend the contract to September 30, 2015. The current SNL and KCP M&O contracts, including the statements of work, can be found at: Further information about NNSA, SNL and KCP can be found at:


The NNSA Nuclear Security Enterprise (NSE) is characterized by its preeminent nuclear weapons scientific, engineering, and manufacturing capabilities. Leveraging these capabilities, NNSA is moving toward a smaller and less expensive enterprise, that maintains the highest levels of security and safety. NNSA will increase its contributions to national security by establishing a responsive infrastructure that operates more cost-effectively. Essential mission capabilities will be maintained, while enabling more resources to be applied for mission solutions rather than support functions. Although the infrastructure primarily enables Defense Programs (DP) mission work, it also provides critical support for NNSA national security missions outside of DP. The infrastructure also supports work for other agencies.

Beginning in 2007, NNSA issued two RFIs to solicit ideas for contracting approaches that would promote effective and efficient operations in support of a more responsive and affordable NSE. The information received from industry, potential offerors, and other interested parties was analyzed and briefed to NNSA management in August 2008, with recommendations for further evaluation of several viable alternatives. On September 12, 2008 NNSA announced its decision to convene an Acquisition Strategy Team (AST) to complete the analysis of alternatives. On April 30, 2009 the AST finalized its report. A decision was made to execute one of the AST alternatives, providing for the combination under a single contract competition of the management and operation of Y-12 Plant and Pantex Plant, with an option for the Savannah River Tritium operations.

As the SNL and KCP contracts are close to expiring, a second AST was chartered to develop a recommended acquisition strategy based on competitive alternatives for these M&O contracts. This team is evaluating the following two alternatives discussed in the 2008 RFI.

Alternative A (B.4 in the 2008 RFI): Transfer management of production operations and associated vendor qualification at SNL to the scope of the KCP contract. This does not imply the physical relocation of those activities.

General Rationale: Combining all non-nuclear production under a single contract could lead to the positive potential results below.

Potential Results:
o The integration of currently separate but inter-related activities would be expected to foster more effective and efficient production operations.
o With the production activities removed from its work scope, SNL would be better aligned with its initial mission as a research and development (R&D) engineering laboratory.

Alternative B (A.2 in the 2008 RFI): Consolidate the KCP and SNL management and mission requirements under a single M&O contract competition. This does not imply the physical relocation of those activities.

General Rationale: Better ensures integrated design, manufacturing and outsourcing than with separate contracts. Promotes exchanges of manpower among the facilities of the combined institution, and promotes more efficient operations by taking advantage of private sector capabilities and capacities.

Potential Results:
o More effective and efficient design and production.
o Increased contractor authority and accountability in accomplishing the NNSA mission through a single roll-up of production requirements and a single integrated non-nuclear production budget.
o Leveraging of the best technical expertise available at the two sites rather than trying to duplicate expertise at multiple sites competing for similar capabilities and resources.
o Contract consolidation is expected to produce cost savings through consolidation of individual site overhead and support functions in order to service the whole contract.
o Similar or identical employee benefit program allowing for a mobile non-nuclear production workforce.
o Similar or identical employee benefit program promoting reduced costs, e.g., medical plans could leverage larger buying volumes at discounted prices.
o Improved and more efficient Federal oversight through reduced production contract interfaces and budgets.
o Combining NNSA R&D and production cultures could introduce inefficiencies and minimize the benefits noted above.
o Potential concerns at the State and Local community levels.
o May require additional extensions of the current SNL contract to address timing and alignment issues.


Interested parties are requested to respond to the following questions.

1. Are there steps that NNSA could take to enhance mission execution at either SNL or KCP? What specific actions would you propose as part of the upcoming Request for Proposal (RFP)/contract competition(s)? Please include the following in your response:
a. What contractual changes do you think should be made to improve performance?
b. What contractual changes can be taken to improve the relationship with NNSA?
c. What contractual changes should NNSA consider taking to improve contract oversight/governance?
d. Are there contracting approaches other than the traditional NNSA M&O contract that would be more effective?

2. Questions on Alternative A: Transfer management of production operations and associated vendor qualification at SNL to the scope of the KCP contract.
a. Where would you draw the line for separating non-nuclear production from the SNL contract?
i. Neutron Generator Production
ii. Vendor Production
iii. Microelectronics Fabrication
iv. Other
b. Do you see any major impediments or risks of transferring non-nuclear production from the SNL contract?
c. Should NNSA separate non-nuclear component design from SNL and add it to the KCP contract, in addition to non-nuclear production (this does not include research)?
d. Please address the feasibility of achieving the potential results (described above) for this alternative.

3. Questions on Alternative B: Consolidate the KCP and SNL management and mission requirements under a single M&O contract competition.
a. Can the unique NNSA R&D and production cultures be successfully managed under a single contract? If so, how would you structure the contract?
b. Would you be interested in competing for the combined scope of work, or would it be overly complex?
c. Please address the feasibility of achieving the potential results (described above) for this alternative.

4. Comment on the following contract approaches under consideration for both Alternatives A & B:
a. Remove the nuclear scope (TA-V work covered under 10CFR830 Subpart B) from the SNL contract, to support implementation of industry standards and reduced Federal oversight for the non-nuclear work scope.
b. Separately contract the management of the infrastructure from the laboratory research, design, and engineering functions.
c. Contract the protective force scope of work separately from the management and operating contract(s) at SNL and/or KCP.

5. Are there other scopes of work that NNSA should consider separating and competing outside the primary M&O contracts? (e.g., supply chain and procurement, commodities, information technology services, etc).

6. What incentives/contract structures would encourage non-profits to participate in contract competition for laboratory/R&D?

7. Please identify and discuss steps that could be taken to mitigate any physical, financial, legal or technological barriers to competition or other risks to your company that NNSA should consider in planning for a possible competition.

8. Input is also requested on any other ideas that responders believe would help NNSA to achieve its objective of promoting more effective and efficient technical and business operations in support of a more responsive and cost-effective Nuclear Security Enterprise. Please identify contracting approaches not listed above that NNSA should consider, including other consolidations of M&O contracts. Provide ideas for implementation, as well as potential risks and results.


1. FAR 52.215-3 Request for Information or Solicitation for Planning Purposes (Oct 1997)
(a) The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this solicitation or to otherwise pay for the information solicited except as an allowable cost under other contracts as provided in subsection 31.205-18, Bid and proposal costs, of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

(b) Although "proposal" and "offeror" are used in this Request for Information, your response will be treated as information only. It shall not be used as a proposal.

(c) This solicitation is issued for the purpose of: obtaining information to assist the NNSA in developing a contracting strategy for SNL and KCP.

(End of Provision)

2. All proprietary material in the submission package shall be clearly identified and will be treated in the strictest confidence.

3. This RFI is issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a request for proposal. In accordance with FAR 15.201(e), responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI, and responses to this RFI will not be returned.

4. This is a RFI and not a RFP. Therefore the Government makes no guarantees that a RFP for your capability will be issued at a later date.

5. Written responses to this RFI addressing the questions above are limited to 10 pages and should be submitted to Steve Sandager, Contracting Officer, via e-mail at no later than 5:00 p.m. MDT, September 6, 2012.


Various locations, 20585
Sandia National Laboratories
Kansas City Plant

United States
Steve Sandager,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 505-845-4771
Fax: 505-845-5753
Lindsey E VanNess,
Contract Specialist
Phone: 5058455919