2020RFIHQFLDUAS – Sources Sought – Request For Information for CBP AMO MQ-9 Predator B/Guardian Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operational and Maintenance Support Experience and Capabilities

Aug 27, 2020 | Sources Sought



THIS IS A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (RFI) ONLY. This is an RFI released pursuant to FAR 15.201(e). This RFI is issued solely for information, planning purposes and market research only; it does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a promise to issue an RFP or Broad Area Announcement (BAA). This RFI does not commit the Government to contract for any supply or service. CBP is not at this time seeking proposals. Responders are advised that the U.S. Government will not pay any cost incurred in response to this RFI. All costs associated with responding to this RFI will be solely at the interested party’s expense. Not responding to this RFI does not preclude participation in any future RFP or BAA. If a solicitation is released, it will be via the Federal Business Opportunities website (http://www.fedbizopps.gov). It is the responsibility of the potential offerors to monitor this website for any information that may pertain to this RFI. The information provided in this RFI is subject to change and is not binding on the Government. All submissions become the property of the Federal Government and will not be returned.



The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) mission is to safeguard our nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond.​ AMO applies advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employs its unique skill sets to support the overarching Department of Homeland Security (DHS) strategic goal of preserving America’s security interests. As part of the larger CBP fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft fleet, CBP operates the General Atomics – Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Predator B/Guardian Unmanned Aircraft System. GA-ASI is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for the MQ-9. The MQ-9 UAS directly supports the specific strategic goals and missions from the DHS Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, as well as AMO’s Vision and Strategy 2030.

AMO Mission Support Office manages UAS acquisition planning and sustainment strategies via the UAS Program Management Office (PMO). In addition, AMO and the U.S. Coast Guard established a Maritime UAS Joint Program Office (JPO) to coordinate joint maritime UAS operations – the AMO PMO manages these joint acquisition activities. In this effort, contractors play a major role, providing support to government employees, in a variety of positions, and have become indispensable to CBP operations.

In accordance with AMO’s Vision and Strategy 2030, the mission of AMO is to safeguard the United States by anticipating and confronting security threats through AMO’s aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. AMO achieves its mission by monitoring thousands of miles of air, maritime, and land borders around the clock; defending the United States against terrorist threats; detecting and deterring illicit trafficking in persons, drugs, weapons, money, and other goods; and disrupting criminal networks.

Air, Maritime, and Land Law Enforcement

AMO is one of the lead federal organizations in aviation and maritime law enforcement, and participates in joint operations with U.S. Border Patrol, Office of Field Operations (OFO), other DHS components, and other law enforcement agencies. AMO seeks to predict, detect, identify, classify, track, deter, and interdict threats to the continuity of border security of the United States and to safeguard our homeland through the coordinated application of aviation and maritime law enforcement resources within the air, sea, and land. This includes detecting and deterring illicit border crossings, interdicting targets, conducting investigative activities; collecting intelligence; performing patrols and surveillance; and preventing the import/export of illegal merchandise and contraband.

Domain Awareness

To achieve air and maritime security, AMO requires air and maritime domain awareness. This refers to the ability to continuously detect, monitor, and track all potential airborne or maritime threats operating within or approaching U.S. borders in diverse environments varying in weather terrain, and lighting conditions. Domain awareness for land surveillance includes situational awareness coordination with USBP to enable the detection, identification, classification, and tracking of land threats using a variety of capabilities. Situational awareness is more comprehensive understanding of a domain; it fuses domain awareness with information and intelligence that provides a detailed overview of the operating environment. Both domain and situational awareness are critical elements in AMO’s ability to successfully execute the surveillance continuum of predicting, detecting, tracking, identifying, classifying, responding, and resolving threats.

Extended Border and Foreign Operations

AMO’s extended border and foreign operations include U.S. and foreign government partners. The mission area involves detecting, identifying, classifying, tracking, and interdicting targets and exploiting signals in the Source and Transit Zones while conducting in the Western and Southern hemispheres. These operations foster partnerships with foreign governments and collaboration with foreign law enforcement operations. Examples include extraditing prisoners, performing counter-illicit trafficking operations with foreign governments host nation riders, and coordination with foreign government air and surface assets.

Contingency and National Security Operations

AMO provides aviation and maritime expertise, observation, and protection, and other related air and marine capabilities as part of the Whole-of-Government Approach to major and large-scale incidents. For contingency operations, such as disaster response, AMO coordinates domestically and internationally as necessary with CBP components, such as USBP and OFO, as well as international, federal, state, and local law enforcement and other government agencies. Contingency and national security operations, federal disaster relief, humanitarian relief, designated National Special Security Event, terror threat response, active shooter incidents, and partnering with non-law enforcement foreign operations for training and exercises.

It is within this mission set that AMO may seek contractor support personnel to further the CBP UAS program. The current contract originally resulted from a Request for Quote (RFQ) to procure Program Management Support Services for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). This RFI allows potential contractors to submit a non-binding statement of interest and documentation demonstrating their corporate capabilities and suggestions that will allow the Government to refine its potential course of action.  This RFI effort is intended to assess industry experience and/or capability to provide subject matter expertise and technical experience and/or capability for a variety of disciplines within the UAS PMO and at UAS NASOC sites. 


The CBP Aviation, Maritime and Border Technologies Contracting Division Contracting Office is requesting responses from qualified business concerns for UAS Program Management Office and UAS NASOC Sites support services experience and/or capability. As prescribed in FAR 15.209(c), 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 FAR subsection 31.205-18, Bid and proposal costs. 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.  This solicitation is issued for the purpose of conducting market research.

The qualifying NAICS code for this effort is NAICS 541990 – All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services.


The CBP AMO UAS consists of one or more MQ-9 unmanned aircraft (UA), a ground control station (GCS), a C band line-of-sight (LOS) ground data terminal, a Ku band beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) broadband satellite system, a backup narrowband Inmarsat satellite communications (SATCOM) terminal, and support equipment.

The MQ-9 UA is a long-endurance, medium-altitude aircraft designed to support a variety of missions carrying various payloads. It is a mid-wing monoplane with a slender fuselage, high-aspect-ratio wing, V-empennage, ventral fin, and rudder. It has retractable tricycle landing gear and is powered by a rear-mounted turboprop engine, driving a three-blade, variable-pitch propeller. AMO also operates the maritime variant MQ-9 Guardian.  

A pilot located in the GCS controls the UA. A daylight color TV (DTV), low light (Image Intensified) TV, and a mid-wave Infrared (IR) turret system that can be aligned with the aircraft’s longitudinal axis as well as a nose mounted color camera provide the pilot with a visual reference for control of the UA. The GCS transmits control commands to the UA by a ground-based data link terminal. The GCS incorporates workstations that allow pilots, sensor operators, and electronics technicians to plan missions, control and monitor the UA and its sensors, and exploit received sensor data. The Ku-band SATCOM system provides BLOS and redundant LOS control of the aircraft via satellite and enhances the voice/data communication capabilities of the GCS.



Section 1: Vendor Interest, Experience and Capabilities

Vendor responses to this RFI must at a minimum describe your company’s experience and/or capabilities as it relates to the following services: program management, technology assessment, unmanned technology and operations, aircraft test and evaluation, systems engineering and analysis, aviation-related modeling and simulation, test planning, execution and simulation, requirements analysis, capability integration and sustainment, life cycle cost estimating, technical writing and presentation, acquisition planning and documentation, aircraft and support systems maintenance, logistics, data integration and analysis, financial analysis and accounting.

  1. Vendor’s interest in providing MQ-9 Predator B/Guardian UAS PMO and UAS NASOC Sites support services.
  2. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to perform program management, requirements analysis and traceability, conduct market research, prepare draft acquisition documents, establish, and implement program plans and milestones, track program schedules, correspondence action items, and financial reports.
  3. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to evaluate the design and reliability of new UAS equipment for potential procurement.
  4. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to identify, analyze, and evaluate the logistics support requirements for UAS operations to include facilities, training, technical manuals, spare parts, support equipment, and maintenance requirements.
  5. Vendor’s knowledge of or experience with the Customs Automated Material and Inventory Tracking System (CAMITS).
  6. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to perform entries into CBP’s Systems, Application, and Products Data Processing System.
  7. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to analyze and advise on the formulation, execution, and/or analysis of the program’s budget and funding requirements; develop Independent Government Cost Estimates and Life Cycle Cost Estimates for unmanned aircraft systems consistent with DHS acquisition guidance/policy.
  8. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to support the development and utilization of advanced UAS sensor and exploitation technologies dedicated to national security.
  9. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to perform unmanned aircraft testing, to include technical and systems evaluation, test planning, range coordination, execution, data collection and analysis, post-test reporting, documentation, and briefing of test results of ground and flight tests and evaluations of aircraft and aircraft systems and sensors.
  10. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to install all new hardware, systems, and software for networks; install, configure, and maintain network services, equipment and devices; support administration of servers and server clusters.
  11. Vendor’s experience and/or capability being responsible for facilitating the set up and maintenance of operations center computers, displays, File Transfer Protocol servers and video and data dissemination capabilities from operations sites to other government command centers.
  12. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to be responsible for security system design, installation, configuration, monitoring and response to security systems to protect operating center computers, Mobility Ground Control Stations (MGCSs), sensor control centers, networks and servers; proactively assesses potential items of risk and opportunities of vulnerability in the network and develop solutions to solve potential threats and problems.
  13. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to provide information systems engineering expertise dealing with intelligence systems to support the AMO UAS intelligence gathering mission.
  14. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to perform research, recommend, and implement solutions to integrate and share data across AMO programs and platforms (UAS, P-3, DHC-8, et cetera).
  15. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to support the operation and maintenance of satellite communications equipment for receipt of airborne sensor data.
  16. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to provide local support for the certification and accreditation of multiple IT systems.
  17. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to participate in research and development of new systems, both hardware and software, to meet changing mission requirements.
  18. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to assist in the research and development of new sensor systems and integration of these sensors to support intelligence missions.
  19. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to perform programming to troubleshoot and maintain system functionality.
  20. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to integrate new functionality into existing applications.
  21. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to create and publish technical diagrams to support coding efforts.
  22. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to confirm program operation by conducting tests; modifying program sequence and/or codes.
  23. Vendor’s experience and/or capability writing training manuals and training computer users in how to use new computer hardware and software.

Section 2: Vendor UAS Operational Site Support Experience

  1. Vendor’s experience, if any, supporting the PMO and operation of CBP’s UAS MQ-9 Predator B/Guardian UAS program. 
  2. Vendor’s experience supporting the PMO and operation for other Government MQ-9 Predator B/Guardian UAS programs.
  3. Vendor’s experience supporting the PMO and operation for other Government UAS programs.
  4. Vendor’s experience providing 24 hours per day, 7 days a week program support availability.
  5. Vendor’s experience simultaneously supporting UAS launch and recovery flight operations at multiple operating sites.
  6. Vendor’s experience support emergency operations or deployments to support natural disasters, humanitarian aid, deterrence, other law enforcement agency support or new and/or emerging requirements.
  7. Vendor’s experience and knowledge of CBP flight planning documents, Federal Aviation Administration issued Certificates of Authorization supporting UAS operations, CBP AMO and Department of Defense (DOD) Letters of Procedure (LOP), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations Aviation Operators Handbook (AOH), licensing, training, and follow-on qualifications necessary to support safe, efficient flight operations in the U.S. National Airspace System.
  8. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to prepare, publish, and update as required Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) applicable to UAS operations through the applicable Flight Service Station; experience maintaining the Flight Publications Library, including the following products: applicable DOD Flight Information Publications (FLIPs), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Publications, approved Letters of Procedures, Certificates of Authorization issued by the FAA, as well as CBP UAS operations and maintenance manual.
  9. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to coordinate UAS operating site services to include site preparation, site support services during UAS operations; site support services shall encompass the launch and recovery sites, the Ground Control Station (GCS), and potential deployment, emergency and alternate airfield sites.
  10. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to provide flight authorization and scheduling support, including preparing and updating, submission and oversight of UAS National flight schedules by CBP prior to execution of the mission.
  11. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to coordinate with civil and/or military weather agencies for forecasting services.
  12. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to coordinate UAS flight/mission planning and briefing with all applicable agencies prior to the commencement of operations, to include coordination with applicable agencies to facilitate UAS access to and utilization of necessary airspace to support operational requirements.
  13. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to support post-mission reporting and analysis.
  14. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to coordinate mishap response and safety efforts with the appropriate mishap response agencies and approve mishap response plans, procedures, and checklists for use in a UAS related mishap.
  15. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to provide scheduling, monitoring, post-sortie data collection, report generation, and records management support for the execution of manned proficiency flight training in support of currency requirements applicable to UAS air crew members.
  16. Vendor’s experience and/or capability to provide unmanned aircraft (UA) visual observer to meet requirements for situational awareness during UA launch and recovery operations, pursuant to FAA-issued Certificates of Authorization (COA), to include experience and/or capability to provide collision avoidance information to the pilot of the CBP Predator-B UA.
  17. Vendor’s experience providing deployment planning support for CONUS and OCONUS operations.
    1. Describe Vendor experience complying with US Government and foreign government export control laws to facilitate OCONUS deployments.
    2. Describe Vendor experience for planning, preparation, and deployment support for CONUS and OCONUS deployments. 
    3. Describe Vendor experience supporting CONUS/OCONUS deployments for greater than 30-days, for 5×24 hour flight duty days.

Section 3: Vendor Background and Approach

Interested sources should submit information covering the areas enumerated below. Additionally, the technical approach should reflect a clear understanding of the nature of work being undertaken and should discuss any perceived areas of risk.

  1. A discussion of the experience and knowledge of the Vendor’s management, operational, and support services for similar work.
  2. Vendor’s current support capacity.
  3. Vendor experience and/or capability to perform a contract of this magnitude and complexity.
  4. Vendor ability for their contract personnel to draw on wider-ranging Vendor experience and/or capability to solve AMO challenges in support of the mission area.
  5. Vendor ability to phase-in and phase-out services within a period of performance, as well as highlight Vendor ability, agility, and flexibility to recruit and back-fill any open requirements on a timely basis, i.e., 30-days or less, with qualified candidates.
  6. Vendor type of business size and small business status, as applicable.
  7. Link to the vendor’s General Service Administration schedule, or attached file of the same, if applicable.
  8. Commercial labor categories and rates used by vendor for similar services.
  9. Describe Vendor’s experience adhering to DHS cyber security requirements and documentation for provisioning of new connections to DHS infrastructure.
  10. Describe Vendor’s experience complying with the security requirements as stipulated by the National Industrial Security Program as determined by CBP. 

All comments, questions and recommendations shall include reference to the RFI operational and maintenance services being commented on. Comment reference shall include page number, section number and sub-section number.

The maximum number of pages to be submitted shall not be more than 15 (8 ½ x 11 inches).

Please provide a cover page with the following:

  1. Company name and address
  2. Primary point of contact and one alternate
  3. Telephone number and e-mail address
  4. Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number
  5. North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes
  6. Socioeconomic category, if applicable

Companies may submit questions regarding this RFI to the Government and are due no later than 3:00 P.M. (EST) on September 14, 2020. Response submissions to this RFI should be identified with UAS PMO and UAS NASOC Sites Support Services  and should be submitted via e-mail to: BRENDA.MEALER@cbp.hs.gov: Please submit all technical questions to this RFI via e-mail to the Contracting Officer, Brenda Mealer. Verbal (telephonic) questions will NOT be accepted. All received questions will be answered by posting answers to the beta.SAM.gov website (http://beta.SAM.gov).  Questions shall NOT contain proprietary or classified information. The Government does not guarantee that questions received after September 07, 2020 will be answered. The Government will review all RFI submissions upon receipt and will seek further clarification from respondents as appropriate.

Acknowledgment of receipt of responses will not be made, nor will respondents be notified of the Government’s evaluation of the information received. However, should such a requirement materialize, no basis for claims against the Government shall arise as a result of a response to this RFI or the Government’s use of such information as either part of an evaluation process or in developing specifications for any subsequent requirement.

Electronic submissions in response to this RFI must be viewable in Microsoft Word 2013 or Acrobat Reader 10.0. All submissions (email including attachments) must be less than 50MB. Oversized submissions will not be delivered by the DHS/CBP E-mail system

This Request for Information (RFI) is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Government to issue a Request for Proposal or to award a contract. The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of responses to this RFI or otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted. The Government’s use of such information is at its sole discretion and is not accepting proprietary information. Sources responding to this RFI shall submit the minimum information necessary for the government to make a determination that the source is capable of satisfying the desired requirements.

The Government will not publicly disclose Vendor proprietary information to the extent that it is consistent with the Government’s legal obligations. Any information submitted in response to this RFI, including information marked as limited rights data, restricted computer software, being subject to limited rights, and/or being subject to restricted rights, will be shared by the Government with current and future support Vendors hired to assist the Government. The Government’s support Vendors that have been, or may be hired, are required to sign non‐disclosure agreements restricting them from unauthorized use and disclosure of information that may be proprietary to third party companies. By submitting information in response to this RFI, Vendors agree to allow the Government to share information they submit with Government support Vendors who are, or will be, covered by a non-disclosure agreement.


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