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Governmental Perspectives: Contracting for Hydrographic Services. Glenn Boledovich Acting Chief, Policy, Planning and Analysis Division National Ocean Service Thursday, August 18, 2005. Who Am I. Acting Chief of Policy, Planning and Analysis; NOS Headquarters

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governmental perspectives contracting for hydrographic services

Governmental Perspectives:Contracting for Hydrographic Services

Glenn Boledovich

Acting Chief, Policy, Planning and Analysis Division

National Ocean Service

Thursday, August 18, 2005

who am i
Who Am I
  • Acting Chief of Policy, Planning and Analysis; NOS Headquarters
  • Program and Policy Analyst for Hydrographic Services since 1995
  • Lawyer; Certificate in Ocean and Coastal Law
  • Lived in the Nation’s largest fishing port, Unalaska (aka Dutch Harbor), Alaska, for 10 years
    • Longshoreman: APL, SeaLand, Crowley
    • Tankerman & Marine Fuel Supply
    • Owner/Operator; Radiant Fuel Service
    • Foreign Vessel Agent: Northstar Terminal; Alaska Maritime
    • Unalaska City Council Member; 3-year elected term
    • Cannery Rat
why i am here
Why I am Here
  • Congress requested a strategy for expanding contracting for hydrographic services
  • NOS hydrographic contracting policy has not been revised since 1996
  • NOS informed Congress it would work through HSRP and update its hydrographic contracting policy by Spring 2006
  • HSRP requested a presentation on governmental perspectives
  • Opportunity to escape DC in August
timeline of contracting for hydrographic services

NOAA begins contracting for hydrographic services.




1807, President Thomas Jefferson establishes Survey of the Coast

Timeline of Contracting for Hydrographic Services
factors and events leading to contracting
Factors and Events Leading to Contracting
  • Erosion of NOAA hydrographic fleet
  • Growing backlog of critical surveying requirements
  • Expansion of maritime commerce; increased vessel size (especially draft)
  • Technological advances
  • Private sector lobbying
history of contracting for hydrographic surveys
History of Contracting for Hydrographic Surveys
  • 1994 – NOAA awards first contract to SAIC
  • 1996 – Congress dedicates funds to contracting
  • 1998 – Congress creates “Address Survey Backlog” line item for contracts
  • 1999 – President’s budget requests $8.5M for Address Survey Backlog line item; subsequent requests roughly match prior year appropriation
  • 2005 – Annual request and appropriation about $20M/year. Total of about $137M invested in turnkey hydrographic survey contracts
  • 2006 – President requests $30M for Address Survey Backlog line item
time charter
Time Charter
  • Chartering vessels would provide platforms for NOAA hydrographers if NOAA’s hydrographic vessels were retired and not replaced
  • Viewed as a viable solution for maintaining in-house capability and expertise
  • Private sector vessel operators expressed significant interest in a long-term vessel time charter
  • In practice, much more complex than anticipated; also NOAA’s original objectives are moot because of reinvestment in NOAA fleet and equipment
  • Turnkey contracts preferred
    • contracts for data, not time
    • More flexible; ability to add task orders to underlying contract
laws governing hydrographic services
Laws Governing Hydrographic Services
  • Act of 1947 (Coast and Geodetic Survey Act)
    • Allows for contracting at discretion of agency
  • Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998 (as amended)
    • Contract “to greatest extent practicable and cost-effective”
    • Procure vessels, equipment and technology necessary to maintain operational expertise
    • “Hydrographic services” vs. “hydrographic data”
  • No level for contracting is fixed in either statute
surveying and mapping inherently governmental or commercial in nature
Surveying and Mapping:Inherently Governmental or Commercial in Nature?
  • Terms come from OMB A-76; process for considering whether to contract or not
    • Either/Or
    • One size fits all
  • Governmental Interest
    • Funding the surveying and mapping activity
    • Issue is not whether surveying/mapping is inherently governmental or commercial in nature
    • The governmental interest lies in the reason the surveying/mapping is being conducted
level of governmental interest
Level of Governmental Interest
  • First Order Issue: Does the agency have a surveying/mapping mission?
    • i.e., is the agency a provider or just a user of geographic data
  • Second Order Issue: If the agency has a surveying/mapping mission, what is the nature of the governmental interest?
  • NOAA does not bid or compete for work in the private sector
  • NOAA contracts out much of its reimbursable work
  • President’s “Competitive Sourcing” initiative is premised on public/private competition to get best value
    • i.e., the mere existence of an operational government capability does not amount to unfair competition
  • List of Governmental Interests suggests policy reasons exist for maintaining an operational capability and core competency
the brooks act
The Brooks Act
  • NOS is required under HSIA to use it for hydrographic data acquisition
  • Process does not include cost in competition among contractors’ proposals
  • Supported by hydrographic surveying contractors; MAPPS refers to use of Brooks Act as the “holy grail”
  • Rationale for using it is similar to rationale for maintaining government core capability
  • Cost is the primary policy concern
  • NOS is satisfied with performance under Brooks Act contracts
concluding remarks
Concluding Remarks
  • The white paper and this presentation are not an agency policy statement; provided so you can better assist in development of policy
  • Need to look beyond the activity, i.e., surveying and mapping, to the reason the government is funding the activity
  • Those reasons help define the extent and nature of the governmental interest
  • The level of governmental interest should guide decisions regarding
    • The need to maintain an operational capability, expertise and core competency; and
    • the optimal levels for contracting