Boeing alleges that there was supposed to be no credit for exceeding key performance parameter (KPP) objectives and therefore the extra capability that comes from the KC-45 should not have been a factor in the scoring.
Are they correct? In a word: NO!
Their claim is based upon a fallacy: the latter (“extra capability shouldn’t count”) does not spring forth from the former (“exceeding KPP parameters do not get credit”). Seem counter intuitive? Only if you didn’t read the RFP and/or equate the KPPs with ‘all that is important’. Could and should Boeing have known the difference? Only if they actually read the RFP (My comments in [brackets] and relevant passage emphasis is mine.):
2.2.1 Subfactor 1: Key System Requirements Within this subfactor the Government will evaluate the proposal to determine that the offeror understands and has substantiated the ability to meet the requirements delineated in the SRD, except for the logistics requirements addressed in the Product Support section (Subfactor 3). All commitments to address at some level, meet, or exceed SRD requirements must be specifically reflected in the offeror's proposed system and aircraft specifications.
18.104.22.168 The requirements associated with the areas set forth in paragraph 22.214.171.124 below will be evaluated under this subfactor. The evaluation will be accomplished as follows:
a. All KPP thresholds in 126.96.36.199a through 188.8.131.52d below must be met. [Now, here comes Boeing’s basis for their big argument against how the proposals were scored in reference to size and capability…] Depending on substantiating rationale, positive consideration will be provided for performance above the stated KPP thresholds up to the KPP objective level. [And here comes Boeing's 'money shot'!] No consideration will be provided for exceeding KPP objectives. [Now immediately following Boeing’s ‘ace’ comes the HUGE 'but' they’re trying to keep people from noticing
because it cuts the legs off their case…] If there is no stated objective and, depending on substantiating rationale, positive consideration will be provided when the specified capability above the KPP threshold is viewed as advantageous to the Government.
[The RFP now goes further to elaborate on this in discussing ‘trade space’: the opportunity for offerors to optimize their proposed capabilities…]
b.All SRD requirements in paragraphs 184.108.40.206a through 220.127.116.11e below that are notKPP thresholds are desired, but are considered part of the offeror's design trade space. For non-KPP requirements, the Government may give consideration for alternate proposed solutions or capabilities below the stated SRD requirement, depending on substantiating rationale. The Government may give additional consideration if the offeror proposes to meet (or exceed if there is an objective) the SRD threshold or requirement, depending on substantiating rationale.
c. Within each of the paragraphs, 18.104.22.168a through 22.214.171.124e below, evaluation of the offeror's proposed capabilities and approaches against the SRD requirements will be made in the following descending order of relative importance: KPPs, KSAs, and all other non-KPP/KSA requirements.
d. For paragraph 126.96.36.199 e below, a collective assessment will be made for all the related SRD requirements therein.
188.8.131.52 The Government will evaluate the offeror's approach to meet SRD requirements as follows:
a. Aerial Refueling: The Government will evaluate the offeror's approach to meeting requirements related to aerial refueling. This evaluation will include: tanker aerial refueling, receiver aerial refueling, fuel offload versus radius range, drogue refueling systems (including simultaneous multipoint refueling), the operationally effective size of the boom envelope, the aerial refueling operator station and aircraft fuel efficiency.
b. Airlift: The Government will evaluate the offeror's approach to meeting requirements related to airlift capability. This evaluation will include: airlift efficiency, cargo, passengers, aero-medical evacuation, ground turn time, and cargo bay re-configuration. The offeror's airlift efficiency will be normalized against the KC-135R airlift efficiency calculated with the same ground rules. An offeror's airlift efficiency value greater than 1.0 will be viewed as advantageous to the Government.
c. Operational Utility: This evaluation will consist of an assessment of the contractor's approach to meeting the requirements relating to operational utility, including the following: aircraft maneuverability, worldwide airspace operations, communication/information systems (including Net-Ready capability), treaty compliance support, formation flight, intercontinental range, 7,000 foot runway operations, bare base airfield operations, and growth provisions for upgrades.
d. Survivability: This evaluation will consist of an assessment of the contractor's approach to meeting the requirements relating to survivability, including the following: situational awareness, defensive systems against threats, chemical/biological capability, EMP protection, fuel tank fire/explosion protection, and night vision capability.
e. Other system requirements: The Government will evaluate the proposed approach to address all SRD requirements not in a, b, c or d above or in Subfactor 3.
Boeing’s argument that the advantage in KC-45 capability should not be counted is specious. I have to believe they know it is specious, since the information showing it to be false begins in the very next sentence after their protest ‘hook’.
So now we have eliminated the ‘size’ issue from the capability grading standpoint. Next we start talking relative sizing. Homework reading assignment: how do airlines around the world view the A330 airframe vis a vis B767? Are they 'really' THAT different?