The Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC) is streamlining the acquisition package process for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract through a new pilot it calls the DISA Acquisition Package Preparation System (DAPPS).

At the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore, Maryland on May 2, Ryan McArthur, the JWCC program manager at HaCC, explained how the typical acquisition process comes with “mountains of paperwork,” but DAPPS streamlines that process and offers the “white glove treatment” to users.

“What is DAPPS? This idea came about I’d say in the middle of the evaluation while we were doing JWCC – we have a lot of great ideas inside HaCC,” McArthur said. “But, as a whole with this from an acquisition package perspective, what we tried to do was what can we streamline in the process to make getting a package through JWCC faster? How can we make it so the warfighter can get a task order through JWCC quicker?”

McArthur explained how the JWCC partnered with the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO) to pilot DAPPS as a “first-of-its-kind tool” to set the precedent for use with future IT contracts.

He explained how DITCO built out a front-end acquisition package builder tailored to JWCC, which the sprint team is constantly working to improve. McArthur compared the user experience to TurboTax, saying the process is “very intuitive,” and walks the mission owner through the necessary steps to digitally prepare, sign, submit, and edit an acquisition package.

With DAPPS, McArthur said users can expect the tool to answer questions about project requirements, and based on the user’s responses, it will auto-generate requirements package documents.

Then, the user can review documentation and digitally sign the forms, route documents to the appropriate officials for signature, and monitor the approval process.

Finally, the user can submit the completed requirements package to their contracting office to begin the procurement process.

“At the end of this, you’re going to have every contract document that the DITCO office would need,” McArthur said. “If you don’t use the DITCO office, this package builder would spit out 90 percent of what any other contracting office would need.”

“If you know your requirements, you can build that in about a week to two weeks,” he added. “You can build a requirements package that quickly.”

However, he warned users that knowing their requirements is crucial before starting the process.

“Don’t send your contracting officer in here uninformed because if you don’t know your requirements, and you don’t know what you want, and you don’t know what you need, then you’re not ready for this process,” McArthur said. “It’s going to ask you a ton of questions… so you have to send your engineer, you have to send your contracting person, and you have to send your finance person.”

Nevertheless, he said about 35 packets have gone through the DAPPS tool so far. By using DAPPS, he said DITCO can provide feedback “quickly” to users, instead of having them submit a separate package once they receive edits.

“The intent here is to eventually get this to where you get real-time feedback in your package,” McArthur said. “But, in six months, a team developed this in the HaCC office while we were doing evaluations, and in three months they’ve already iterated multiple times. We have real-time editing for multiple people inside this.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.