By Jennifer Lee, Supervisory Contracting Officer, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella, Code 200, Naples Shore Branch
NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Sigonella Code 200 Naples Shore Team supported the humanitarian assistance to the Italian Republic in response to COVID-19. The acquisition team consisted of Italian nationals, GS Civilian contracting officers, an enlisted intern, Office of General Counsel, NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Site Naples personnel, and top leadership. The acquisition team bolstered partnerships and became mission partners with multi-agency mission partners; United States European Command (EUCOM), United States Embassy Rome, Italy (Embassy), and the Regional Military Commands in Vicenza (Army), Aviano (Air Force), Sigonella, Naples, and Gaeta (Navy). The humanitarian aid utilized Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Aid funding from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to EUCOM, purposed for the benefit of the Italian public and economic impact by utilizing Italian vendors. The team awarded six contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies and medical equipment for a total value of $9,541,207.99.
Before receiving the requirement and funding from EUCOM, the acquisition team prepared an acquisition strategy that was streamlined, flexible, and adaptable to market changes without stalling the timeline for layers of approval. The acquisition strategy was developed to provide ease to the mission partners and streamlined acquisition documentation and approvals to apply to the whole project. Sole source contract awards were made to Italian suppliers based on Unusual and Compelling Urgency (FAR 6.302-2) of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Code 200 Naples Italian contracting officers engaged and briefed the Italian vendors, which had never been awarded a U.S. Government contract, to provide transparency, applicable terms and conditions, clause information, delivery, payment, and invoicing procedures. At the time of funding and requirement submission from EUCOM, all documentations and approvals were complete and the team issued a request for quotes (RFQ) in less than 24 hours for a rapid solicitation period of three business days.
Within the solicitation period, there were shortages in the supply chain due to the lack of worldwide functioning manufacturers of PPE supplies, Italy was entering into Phase II, while the re-opening of the Italian businesses impacted existing inventories. The acquisition strategy allowed the RFQs to be amended to revise quantities and reflect substituted products without using valuable procurement lead time. The vendors had established trust with the acquisition team and process due to the upfront engagement from the Italian contracting officers and were able to respond quickly with quality substitutions.
Within 48 hours, the vendors provided revised final quotes and the acquisition team was able to award six contracts in support of the humanitarian aid to Italy for the following items:
1.8 billion nitrate gloves
1.1 billion vinyl gloves
285 million latex gloves
41,000 surgical gowns
2,000 lab hydro-repellent coveralls
15,000 pediatric and adult masks
3 million face/surgical masks
42,700 N95 masks 1 diagnostic ultrasound machine