Breaking down the Department of Homeland Security’s PACTS III

Nov 9, 2023

Are you a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), 8(a), or a Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) business?

Well, there’s good news for you: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released the pre-solicitation notice for its third iteration of the multiple-award contract (MAC) IDIQ for non-IT services known as a Program Management, Administration, Clerical, and Technical Services (PACTS) III. DHS released this pre-solicitation notice on March 3, 2023, and based on the latest update, the virtual Industry Day is scheduled for November 9, 2023.

The competition type is targeted for 8(a) Set-Aside HUBZone Set-Aside Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Woman Owned Small Business Set Aside with 541611 and 541330 NAICS codes. The aggregate ceiling for PACTS III is $8.4 Billion.

DHS aims to establish a suite of Department-wide Indefinite-Delivery Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contracts for program management, administrative, clerical, technical, and engineering services that will enable the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to accomplish its mission objectives. PACTS III will establish a flexible and responsive capability to meet the customers’ needs by providing a base of pre-qualified contractors who can be rapidly accessed through both competitive and noncompetitive methods, as appropriate, to provide the required services described in the PACTS III Statement of Work (SOW). Each task order will precisely define the services required to be delivered by the contractor.

In this blog, we have explained everything you need to know about this current IDIQ in the market, focusing on small business acquisition.

PACTS III: Latest developments

November 9, 2023:

DHS released the Q&A for the second draft of PACTS III of the PACTS III RFP but noted that these responses pertain to the second PACTS III draft RFP only and may not apply to subsequent drafts and/or the final RFP. Due to this, interested parties are encouraged to read any future versions of the PACTS III RFP in its entirety. The final RFP will supersede all previous versions of the PACTS III RFP.

October 27, 2023:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has unveiled the third draft of the PACTS III Request for Proposal (RFP). Here’s what you need to know:

The third draft RFP and its attachments are now available, clearly marked with “3rd Draft RFP” in their naming. At this stage, the Government isn’t accepting any queries about this draft solicitation. This draft is specifically for Functional Category 1. Remember, the final RFP for PACTS III will have three separate solicitations, each for a different Functional Category.

Major Updates to Look Out For: The transition from the second to the third draft has brought numerous changes. From evaluation criteria based on Functional Category and type of Offeror to the inclusion of projects from the Offeror or its partners, there’s a lot to digest. Plus, there’s been a significant refresh of the attachments.

  • Proposals will be evaluated based on the Functional Category, socioeconomic track, and type of Offeror;
  • Projects that meet the definition of relevant and recent as defined in the solicitation that are from the Offeror (Prime Contractor or Small Business Teaming Arrangement (SBTA)) itself or a partner/member of the Offeror’s SBTA will be considered;
  • 40% of projects verified must have been performed by the partner(s) of the joint venture that possesses the socioeconomic status associated with the track the Offeror is proposing (52.207-6(a)(1)(i)); Prime Contractor of a Prime/Subcontractor relationship (52.207-6(a)(1)(ii)) or the protégé in a Mentor-Protégé relationship (52.207-6(a)(2)
  • Managing Venturers or Prime Contractors of SBTAs that are Joint Ventures or Prime/Subcontractor(s) as defined in the solicitation may be granted additional points if Partner/Subcontractor agreements are provided that prove the Offeror has managed teams of the same size or larger on other projects.
  • The Government plans to use the Procurement Integrated Enterprise Environment (PIEE) suite for these processes.

A Word of Caution: The language and documents in this draft are not final and may undergo changes. Always refer to the final issued RFP for any discrepancies.

The PACTS III Industry Day is scheduled for November 9, 2023, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm EST. It will be conducted via Microsoft Teams Live. Join the Industry Day here. Don’t forget to register!

October 23, 2023:

The solicitation release for PACTS III is expected in November 2023, as per the USCIS FY 2024 1st Quarterly Industry Call Advanced Presentation issued on October 23, 2023.

The government continues to project an Industry Day in October 2023 as well. A copy of the presentation is available in the Related Documents section.

Industry Call details: The Industry Call will be held at 1 PM ET, October 31, 2023. The call-in number and passcode for this event is 1-888 323-9726, passcode; 2823795. The recording will be available two (2) hours after the event.

August 28, 2023:

The DHS is continuing to work on responses to the questions from the second draft RFP and will provide the answers once available. Additionally, the DHS now anticipates hosting a pre-solicitation virtual Industry Day in October 2023. Instructions on how to register for the Industry Day will be available once a firm date is established and the time gets closer.

July 25, 2023:

DHS announced that it intends to host a pre-solicitation virtual Industry Day in August 2023. Registration instructions for Industry Day will be made available once a firm date is established. The DHS also noted that is working on responses to the questions from the second draft RFP and will provide the answers once available.

June 23, 2023:

The second PACTS III draft RFP, attachments, and survey have been posted. All questions or concerns regarding any aspect of this draft solicitation shall be submitted using the Solicitation Question and Answer Form, Attachment 17, and sent to no later than 5:00 pm Eastern Time on July 7, 2023.

Key changes include:

  • The inclusion of a past performance evaluation
  • Limited project opportunities for primes, SBA small business JVs, and SBA MPPs
  • 40% of projects must be performed by SBA MPP Protégé
  • Enhanced definitions for Project Relevancy/Recency requirements
  • Updated Statement of Work and On/Off Ramping Terms and Conditions
  • Additional attachments for reference

The draft documents are subject to change and the final RFP will take precedence over any conflicting information. The highly anticipated PACTS III Industry Day is scheduled for the end of July 2023.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can use the Solicitation Question and Answer Form (Attachment 17) and send them to

April 24, 2023:

On April 24, DHS provided an update that the department is working on responses to the questions from the initial draft RFP and will provide responses once available. A second draft RFP for PACTS III is also anticipated to be released. DHS is contemplating hosting a matchmaking event in the May to June (2023) timeframe. If pursued, details will be made available to the industry in advance. Additionally, DHS now anticipates hosting a pre-solicitation virtual Industry Day in the late May or early June (2023) timeframe, and the instructions on how to register for the Industry Day will be available as time gets closer.

Based on the update released by DHS on March 23, 2023, the agency mentioned that they had received 524 questions in response to the draft RFP and will respond to them in the order received. DHS also requested the interested contractors to inform them if they do not receive an email from the PACTS III team with responses to their questions by the time all questions and answers are posted publicly.

Also, DHS has informed in the latest update that the virtual Industry Day will no longer be held at the end of March 2023 but has been rescheduled for the end of April 2023. DHS will provide information related to Industry Day as it gets closer. The government plans to issue the awards in August 2024. According to APFS Record #F2022059380, the solicitation is still expected to be released on or about August 30, 2023.

Download the Understanding Document of PACTS III

What does PACTS III cover?

The Draft RFP states that the selected offerors will be required to provide the full range of program management, operations, technical, and administrative services in one (1) or more of the Functional Categories to meet the mission needs of DHS. This vehicle will not provide any information technology (IT) services. The PACTS III Statement of Work (SOW) comprises three comprehensive Functional Categories (known as FCs) of services. Each of these three FCs has specific requirements that will be further identified and defined at the Task Order [TO] level:

  • FC1: Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services
  • FC2: Office Administrative Services
  • FC3: Engineering Services

For each FC, the contractor is required to provide the full range of services as a separate and distinct requirement. The services provided under PACTS III will support DHS nationally, using these services within the 50 States and US territories. The contractor must furnish the necessary labor personnel, materials ( equipment, facilities, travel, ancillary labor), and other direct costs required to satisfy the TO requirements.

While the SOW identifies the FC, it does not preclude using other vehicles and contracts to meet specific needs. The primary North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code and size standard for FC1, FC2, and FC3 are as follows:

Proposal submission requirements

According to the submission requirements mentioned in Draft RFP, offerors are required to submit one proposal with sufficient information concerning all factors to enable government personnel to determine the offeror’s capabilities to perform the requirements fully. As per the instructions in the solicitation, the following volumes must be submitted.

All offers are required to be submitted to the following email addresses based on the functional category(ies) it would like to be considered for.

  • Functional Category 1: Offers shall be submitted to the email address: FCl
  • Functional Category 2: Offers shall be submitted to the email address: FC2
  • Functional Category 3: Offers shall be submitted to the email address: FC3

Some noteworthy points regarding PACTS III

  • The PACTS III Multiple Award IDIQ (MA-IDIQ) may consist of four (4) separate and distinct MA-IDIQ contracts designated under the following small business set-aside programs for each of the three (3) functional categories: FCl, Administrative Management, and General Management Consulting Service; FC2, Office Administrative Services and FC3, Engineering Services.
  • Under PACTS III, interested small businesses can submit one (1) proposal from each offeror for each Functional Category.
  • The government anticipates the award in August 2024.
  • The maximum ordering period for PACTS III is ten (10) years. The ordering period is defined as when task orders can be issued under this contract. The ordering period is broken out as follows: a three (3)-year base, plus three (3), two (2) year options and one (1), one( l)-year option, if exercised. The performance period of a task order shall not extend more than one (1) year beyond the 10-year limit.
  • One proposal constitutes one or a set of self-scoring sheets including claims from one of the following: an individual business, a Joint Venture, a Teaming Arrangement, or a Mentor-Protege.
  • If the offeror elects to be considered for more than one of the four (4) socio-economic tracks, the same one (1) proposal will be used and evaluated only amongst the other offerors within the respective socio-economic tracks.
  • The government reserves the right to not award contracts under any of the small business set-aside programs if it is in the best interest of the DHS.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) anticipates making several awards within each FC and small business socio-economic track to ensure beneficial competition occurs at the task order level while maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of PACTS III.

How will your offer be evaluated?

The DHS will award a contract resulting from the solicitation to the responsible offeror whose offer conforming to the solicitation will most benefit the DHS, price, and other factors considered. The following factors shall be used to evaluate offers:

The source selection process on PACTS III will neither be based on the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) nor Tradeoffs. For PACTS III, the highest Technically Rated Offerors with a Fair and Reasonable Price (HTRO-FRP) will determine the best value basis for awards. Competition based on the scope of work for each order will be held at the order level in accordance with FAR Part 16.505 and the ordering procedures. Past performance will not be evaluated as part of this source selection.

Benefits for small businesses

This IDIQ targets specific socio-economic categories, including 8(a) Set-Aside, HUBZone Set-Aside, Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Set Aside, and Woman Owned Small Business Set Aside; hence it is a great opportunity for small businesses to do business with the DHS. The goals of PACTS III are to provide the Department and its Components a mechanism for quick ordering of professional services and solutions at fair and reasonable prices, to give qualified small businesses a greater opportunity to participate in these requirements and to assist the Department with continuing to achieve and exceed its small business and socio-economic goals.

PACTS III is a golden opportunity to work with the government, establish yourself in the federal market, and advance your company. Going after contract vehicles such as PACTS III can be a complicated process for small businesses; our team at iQuasar simplifies the process for our clients. We support small businesses bidding for complex contract vehicles such as Polaris GWAC, OASIS+ (GSA BIC MAC), CIO-SP4, 8(a) Stars III, and other GWACs. We are constantly tracking updates related to contract vehicles like PACTS III. Our team of experts will supervise the entire process by helping you evaluate your eligibility, increase your readiness levels, prepare a custom-made proposal development strategy to your firm’s unique requirements, and create a high-quality and compliant response to help you win.

To know how we can help you with PACTS III,

Book a Meeting with our Expert!


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