JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The innovative thinking of a team of contracting professionals at the Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Knox, Ky., is saving more than $4.5 million annually on a multimillion dollar contract.With funding cuts in base operating budgets this year, contracting officers dug deeper to find savings without losing the quality of service provided to the Army.The requirement calls for a contractor to provide all services, materials, plant supervision, labor, and equipment necessary to operate, maintain, repair and perform alterations to real property facilities, including unaccompanied and troop personnel housing at Fort Belvoir, Va. MICC-Fort Knox contracting professionals recently completed the Fort Belvoir Garrison's base operations services source selection process."The incumbent was receiving $1,987,577 per month," said David Shuck, a MICC-Fort Knox contracting officer. "The succeeding contract monthly amount of $1,607,542 provides a savings of $380,035 per month, or a total annual savings of $4,560,420. This is a savings of slightly more than 23 percent. During this time of significant fiscal constraints, this is of great benefit to the customer and the Army. The team was very pleased and excited that our revised strategy resulted in such significant savings."Shuck and his teammates were tasked to find a solution to bridge the gap between the expiration of the current contract and protest resolution. They worked closely together and with the Small Business Administrative and identified an innovative solution for the bridge contract. A bridge contract is an interim action to prevent interruption or termination of critical services or supplies.After careful analysis, the team made a determination to revise the solicitation and request a revised proposal from each offeror. The revisions placed the primary focus on staffing and eliminated the use of an ineffectual evaluation software program. The analysis evaluated the entire contract process -- beginning with the ongoing process, amendments, receipt of revised proposals and evaluation of offers. The award was completed in less than 90 days, resulting in a contract at significant savings to the government."The primary cost driver on this contract is labor," Shuck said. "Analysis of the original solicitation and source selection plan appeared to divert focus from labor to other less important aspects of the defined requirement. We issued an amendment, revising proposal submittal requirements to place primary focus on the labor and staffing. This was a highly competitive requirement. The revised proposals reflected better understanding of the requirement and lower pricing."The team determined that the incumbent contractor was not eligible and its affiliate was not a proper solution. The requirement is in the SBA's 8(a) business development program, and the incumbent is no longer an 8(a) certified small business. Contracting officers are encouraged to work closely with MICC small business specialists to indentify 8(a) firms that could provide needed services or supplies. The team and SBA officials came to the same conclusion that the bridge contract should be awarded to an affiliate of the apparent winner of the longer-term contract, another 8(a) certified small business.The incumbent contractor, which graduated from the 8(a) program, had been performing services on a sole source basis for approximately 3 to 4 years. An affiliate of the incumbent submitted a proposal for the new competitive acquisition and ultimately protested the award, causing delay of performance of the new contract.The apparent winner of the longer term contract, its affiliate and the SBA worked closely with the Fort Knox team to quickly negotiate and put in place a bridge contract. Once the protest was resolved, the affiliate agreed to the same price and contract terms as those that are in the longer term contract."It was very challenging and rewarding," Shuck said. "Being located at Fort Knox and working with the contracting office and customer located at Fort Belvoir required a significant amount of communication via e-mail and phone. Bringing the Fort Belvoir source selection board to Fort Knox was one of the keys to our success. We were able to evaluate revised proposals in less than two weeks, versus the previous method that was in its fifth month with no end in sight."In the end, the contract calls for a phase-in base period of 11 months and four one-year option periods for a total amount of $94,844,955. This equates to $1,607,542 per month payment. This requirement is for operation, maintenance and repair of real property facilities at Fort Belvoir in the following functional areas: dining facility appliances and equipment; electrical systems; heating plants and systems; water system; storm drain system; air conditioning and refrigeration plants and system; maintenance and repair; buildings and structures; grounds; surface areas; unaccompanied personnel housing operations and maintenance; fire detection and suppression; environmental services; and building operations and maintenance.MICC personnel are responsible for providing contracting support for the warfighter across Army commands, installations and activities located throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In fiscal 2012, the command executed more than 58,000 contract actions worth more than $6.3 billion across the Army, including more than $2.6 billion to small businesses. The command also managed more than 1.2 million Government Purchase Card Program transactions valued at an additional $1.3 billion.