HomeResourcesUSAID Indefinite Quantity ContractsThe Support That Augments Rapid Transitions (START) Indefinite Quantity Contract (IQC)

The Support That Augments Rapid Transitions (START) Indefinite Quantity Contract (IQC)

Solicitation number:SOL-OAA-11-000049

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) is soliciting proposals for the Support that Augments Rapid Transition (START) Indefinite Quantity Contract (IQC).  The contract will be for a period of five (5) years, and the place of performance will predominately be overseas.  USAID will award the contract under a Total Small Business set aside.  The anticipated estimated cost of the five year period shall not exceed $30,000,000. 

Note that this ceiling applies across all task orders and cannot be exceeded in the aggregate. Note that there is no guarantee on the number of task orders that the firm will receive under this IQC, or the amount of money the firm is entitled to beyond the minimum monetary amount that will be stated in the Request for Proposal (RFP). 

USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives, supports U.S. foreign policy objectives by helping local partners advance peace and democracy in priority countries in crisis. Seizing critical windows of opportunity, OTI works on the ground to provide fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs.   

The purpose of the resulting START IQC is to provide services for the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) that fall under the broad categories of field and Washington logistical support and programmatic short term technical assistance. OTI's country programs must be flexible, responsive and targeted at the country's specific transition needs. At the same time, the program teams must be able to deploy personnel and staff resources in challenging and restrictive environments as well as in a timely and effective manner that may not be sufficient under OTI's existing implementing mechanisms. OTI often needs technical experts for short-term assignments based on OTI's need for rapid and flexible programming. The required response time after the task order is awarded may range from 72 hours to one month.

The proposed contract is a 100% set aside for small business concerns.  The authorized geographic code for this activity is 935 or as designated in future Task Orders.  The NAICS Code for this procurement is 541611.  The solicitation will be posted on the FEDBIZOPPS web page (www.fedbizopps.gov).  In accordance with FAR 5.102(d), availability of the solicitation will be limited to this electronic medium only.  Request for other copies of the solicitation will be disregarded without notice to the requestor.  No phone calls will be accepted, the solicitation will not be available for pick-up, and no walk-ins will be allowed.



The Support That Augments Rapid Transitions (START) Indefinite Quantity Contract (IQC) provides the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) with the means to support U.S. foreign policy objectives via targeted, short-term assistance in priority countries experiencing recent transition, instability, or crisis. OTI‘s country program team, comprised of OTI and Contractor personnel, will work on the ground to provide fast, flexible programming and logistical support targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs.

Through specific task orders (TOs), the Contractor will establish, staff, manage, operate, and support a flexible, quick-response mechanism capable of program assessment and program management, including administering and implementing operational and logistical support to OTI‘s Washington and field teams, when the engagement and deployment of longer term mechanisms are not appropriate. This program management IQC is expected primarily to augment longer term mechanisms including the Support Which Implements Fast Transitions (SWIFT) mechanism.


The USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) was created in 1994 as a distinct operating unit within USAID to help local partners advance peace and democracy in U.S. foreign policy priority countries. Seizing critical windows of opportunity, OTI works on the ground to provide fast, flexible, and short-term assistance addressing key transition needs in countries with needs that cannot be fully addressed by traditional disaster relief (such as countries experiencing a significant political transition, in the midst of a disaster, or emerging from civil conflict).

Located in USAID‘s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, OTI has laid the foundation for long-term development in over 45 country engagements. OTI uses innovative programming to promote reconciliation; jump-start local economies; support nascent independent media; and foster peace and democracy. In countries undergoing a transition from authoritarianism to democracy, violent conflict to peace, or other pivotal political events, OTI‘s initiatives serve as catalysts for positive political change. OTI programs are shortterm -- typically, two to three years in duration.

OTI works closely with regional bureaus, missions, and other counterparts to identify programs that complement other assistance efforts. OTI‘s strategies and programs are developed and designed to meet the unique needs of each situation. Timely and effective assistance to promote and consolidate peaceful, democratic advances can make the difference between a successful and a failed transition. Effective deployment of personnel and staff resources in a timely, flexible, and effective manner can significantly and positively influence the outcome of immediate program objectives.

Existing implementing mechanisms that OTI utilizes to carry out country assessments or programming have not always provided sufficient capacity to operate in some of the more challenging and restrictive environments where OTI has deployed. For example, OTI programming efforts may be impacted when existing USG facilities do not have adequate resources to support additional USG personnel.

Also, deployment of personnel to an urgent assessment or country start-up may not be rapid when standard hiring processes require more time and qualified staff are not immediately available for deployment. The START IQC is intended to address these and related personnel and logistical support issues and enable OTI to more effectively respond to urgent and rapid assessment or programming needs in high U.S. foreign policy priority countries.


The Contractor will provide institutional and operational logistical support and short-term technical assistance , in the field and Washington, as needed by current country programs and/or prior to and during new country program start-ups. The fluid situation in countries where OTI operates requires tools and mechanisms to respond to unforeseen changes and contingencies that may arise over the course of programming.

The Contractor should be prepared to expand, diminish, or change operations with as little notice as a few days. The Contractor must possess adequate capital investment and flexibility in order to rapidly expand or halt program support if needed. The Contractor must also be able to plan, procure, and deploy sufficient security measures that commiserate with the country‘s security environment. Upon award, the Contractor may be required to obtain security clearances for key staff and consultants as identified in the TO. TOs under the START IQC will be incrementally funded.

The Contractor should not assume that it will receive any funding beyond what is currently obligated to the TOs. The support provided by the Contractor is a critical component of OTI‘s programmatic success. The Contractor is expected to have significant experience deploying and supporting field personnel as well as setting up and maintaining field offices and operations both within and outside countries‘ capitals. Such experience includes, but is not limited to, field accounting; overseas staff deployment and support; quickly learning, understanding, and applying pertinent host nation regulations on residency and employment taxes; identifying and providing staff benefits and allowances; and managing payroll and related administrative tasks.

Additionally, the Contractor may be requested to provide ?surge? capacity in response to heavy workload demands both in the field and in Washington. For example, surge capacity staff may be needed to deploy with an OTI assessment, start-up or field team on very short notice, as quickly as one week. Surge capacity staff may also be required to provide country program support from Washington. Operational and logistical support will vary according to the demands of each task order or country program and programming area. Each TO will indicate specific in-country requirements that the Contractor will need to plan and budget for, but these will generally consist of the responsibilities outlined below, as needed.

For each TO the exact operational and logistical support requested will be determined by the Task Order Contracting Officer Technical Representative (TOCOTR) and OTI field staff in keeping with the task order scope and budget, programmatic focus, cost effectiveness, and efficiency. In acknowledgement of the environments where OTI may require START services, it is the responsibility of the Contractor to notify OTI as soon as possible if the Contractor cannot perform duties as assigned after TO award.

If at any point during the TO an unforeseen event does not allow for OTI to operate within the place of performance, unilateral termination of the TO may occur. The Contractor may be requested to procure goods and services to carry out OTI program objectives as identified by the TO. This may include the local procurement of commodities or local contracting for program related services. All procurements will be reviewed and approved by OTI. The Contractor may also support field teams by locating and contracting for housing, office space, vehicles, and other support as directed by the TOCOTR.

While the OTI SWIFT IQC is designed for program implementation, START will be used primarily for program management. To this end, Contractor personnel, for example a Program Director (PD) and Deputy Program Director (DPD), will assist OTI staff in providing program support such as monitoring and oversight of assessments and program design, while program implementation of the programming mechanisms, is through SWIFT or another mechanism.

Such program support should also include building staff capacity for the effective use of program performance management tools and systems. The Contractor shall be able to provide the following services under START: 1. Logistical Long-Term Support In-Country 2. Immediate and/or Long-Term Surge Support In-Country 3. Short-Term Technical Assistance for OTI programs 4. Short-Term Activity Implementation All of the above types of support will have some level of US-based support structure, backstopping the needs in the field.

C.3.1 Logistical Long-Term Support In-Country

In certain country instances, due to severe space limitations, operating environment security concerns, and other operational constraints, it has not always been possible for OTI to place a sufficient number of official USG employees within Embassy/USAID facilities to oversee and work closely with SWIFT personnel. In such a scenario, the Contractor may be asked to field and support long-term local hires and USPSC/TCN, such as a PD and a DPD, to fulfill the roles that would typically be served by the OTI Country Representative, Deputy Country Representative, or other OTI staff.

Since Contractor personnel are not official USG employees, they often conduct in-country travel and monitoring not permissible for official USG employees subject to USG security and in-country travel restrictions. Furthermore, Contractor personnel will allow OTI to have oversight capacity when the USAID mission and/or US Embassy cannot support that presence.

In those cases where the Contractor fulfills the roles above, responsibilities may include:

a. Provide independent analysis, advice, and reporting to OTI on the following:

  • i. Current local and regional political developments and security concerns as well as other pertinent information required to achieve program objectives.
  • ii. Potential areas of intervention for OTI, contingencies, and program and activity adjustments that may be needed to address the rapidly changing political situation or unforeseen events that may arise during the life of the program.
  • iii. Day-to-day programmatic, operational, and strategic matters related to OTI‘s Implementing Partners (contractors and/or grantees) ensuring that activities contribute to OTI‘s program objectives and are achievable.
  • iv. Advice on grant proposals that are proposed by the OTI partner(s); this advice will include areas of proposed interventions (geographic and type), political relevance, opinions on grantees and grantee worthiness, and programmatic approach.
  • v. Advise and assist on OTI‘s needs (necessary personnel, equipment, grant making capacity, and facilities). Note that the OTI Partner is responsible for administrative, logistics, procurement and finance aspects of the OTI program.
  • vi. Monitor the security situation, and provide guidance and timely information to staff and partners. This includes leading in the planning and implementation of staff personal security systems and procedures and possible evacuation when directed by OTI.

b. Monitor and report to OTI on the following activities:

  • i. Program activities, including grants under contract (cash and in-kind), procurement, technical assistance, or sub-contracts that will span a wide variety of sectors.
  • ii. Monitoring responsibilities include, but are not limited to, quality assurance, implementation, timeliness of activities, observation of events and activities, stakeholder interviews, monitoring that public participation is considered in all grant activities, and review of marking and branding practices.
  • iii. Identify and procure host country monitoring and evaluation resources.
  • iv. Lead, guide, and support evaluation processes measuring the impact of OTI activities.

c. Use the OTI Activity Database to develop reports and success stories; review the quality of information within the database; and make recommendations to the COTR for improved data management, maintenance, and database use.

d. Effectively communicate and coordinate to fulfill the duties outlined in the Scope of Work, under the guidance of the COTR. This includes liaising with the USAID Mission, the U.S. Embassy, and other stakeholders in country as well as between OTI Washington and its Implementing Partners, the USAID Mission, the U.S. Embassy, and other donor organizations.

e. Work collaboratively with the OTI Partner(s) to maintain program flexibility in order to respond to a possible need to close the program as a result of unforeseen events.

f. Assist in the conceptualization and design of program strategies and objectives in close coordination with the OTI staff, the OTI Partner(s), USAID personnel, U.S. Embassy, and government and civil society officials. When necessary, assist in refining strategic objectives and advocating on behalf of new programmatic approaches in-country and/or linked to neighboring country programs, where appropriate.

g. Participate in In-country Strategic Planning/Team Building Workshops, After Action Reviews, periodic Program Performance Reviews, and After Exit Reviews; provide input to OTI and OTI Partner(s) on the agenda for these workshops.

h. Support OTI Management Reviews, Program Performance Reviews, Program Evaluations, and other performance monitoring of programs.

i. Maintain adequate staffing. Field staffing and administrative structures may vary according to the demands of the country program and area over the life of the program. This may require that the Contractor recruit, hire, and support short-term field personnel.

C.3.2 Immediate and/or Long Term Surge Support In-Country

OTI envisions the need for the Contractor to support assessments or implementation of new country programs. The implementation and management of activities for a START contractor generally include three distinct phases:

  • a. Phase 1 - Pre-Deployment and Startup
  • b. Phase 2 – Implementation
  • c. Phase 3 - Close-out

Each specific task order may include other sub-phases, for example, an expansion phase during full implementation where additional services including offices may be required. The following sections describe each Phase.

Phase 1 – Pre-Deployment & Startup Phase

The task order will specify the number of days within which the contractor shall participate in a Washington DC-based kick-off conference (generally within 2-7 days after award) and to deploy a startup team (generally within 3-15 days after award).

During the pre-deployment stage the contractor may be called upon to provide initial short-term technical assistance and political analysis or to initiate administrative, management, programmatic and logistical procedures. The contractor must prepare for the process of procuring goods and services to set the platform for OTI program objectives. This may include the independent and rapid local procurement of commodities or local contracting for program-related services.

The contractor‘s home or other regional office(s) must be able to support these initial activities as needed. The start-up begins upon the contractor's team arrival in country and is the most critical phase of an OTI program, during which time the contractor will establish key implementation systems and prepare for field staff deployment.

The contractor will be required to put into operation administrative, management, programmatic and logistical procedures initiated during the pre-deployment phase. Among other things, this will require the contractor to establish and equip office and temporary residences for its staff and OTI staff where applicable; obtain access to vehicle(s) and driver(s); procure and establish communications equipment and information systems; hire temporary local staff; establish its legal and tax status with the host government; develop initial work plans as well as coordinate closely with OTI, the USAID Mission, the U.S. Embassy and other prospective counterparts on initial program strategy and implementation. The Contractor may be required to provide short-term operational field support until a long-term TO or cooperative agreement is awarded and activated.

For example, a new OTI country program may require a start-up logistics phase taking place prior to OTI field staff setting up in-country, during which the Contractor may set up necessary administrative, management, programmatic, and logistical procedures to enable OTI field staff or long-term partner personnel to begin work immediately upon arrival. In certain cases, the Contractor may be required to secure personnel with relevant language abilities.

The Contractor‘s initial team will deploy in-country and overlap with OTI and long-term partner field staff to ensure a smooth transition between the Contractor‘s eventual departure and a long-term Contractor taking over under another mechanism separate from the START IQC.

Phase 2 – Implementation Phase

The implementation begins at the end of Phase 2 and continues throughout the life of the program. The contractor will be responsible for managing the implementation of programmatic activities. The on-going management of personnel, finances, operations, and rapid and realistic assessment and analysis to implement programs will be required. Offices outside the capital may also be required at any time after program startup. In addition, it will also continue to provide security, political analyses, ground-truthing, administrative, evaluation and other program implementation aspects.

The Contractor will bring to bear its best corporate capacities and strengths, through and in support of long-term local and US expat hires, to contribute to sound program direction and oversight within the OTI one-team approach. Unlike traditional assistance formats, OTI is deeply involved with its Contractors in day to day operations and implementation.

In other words, OTI is an "operational donor" that has a very interactive relationship with the Contractor. The level and quality of this close interaction and one-team approach is critical to overall program success. As a result, the Contractor may be co-located with other OTI implementing partners. This integrated approach is important for dealing with the stress of rapidly implementing a complex and politically delicate program in an uncertain environment while maintaining programmatic flexibility.

The periodic re-examination of programmatic goals and objectives, roles and responsibilities, lines of communication, policies and procedures at scheduled strategic planning/team building events throughout each year of operation provides a formal process for strengthening team skills and program focus.

Phase 3 - Closeout

The Contractor will develop and then implement a cost-effective and efficient Close-Out Plan (administration, information, finance, procurement, and management) within a timeframe approved by the TOCOTR. The Contractor will provide OTI with the following required tasks and deliverables: Contractor Close-Out Plan; contract files as required for audit purposes and final billing to OTI; final reports and close-out procedures; property disposition plan (in accordance with USAID regulations applicable to property disposition) for the TOCOTR and Contracting Officer to approve at least sixty days prior to the end of the task order; as well as any monitoring and evaluation activities as identified by OTI.

Similarly, OTI may request the Contractor to provide long-term surge support in-country for new or current country programs ranging approximately two to four years. The implementation and management of activities for a START contractor under long-term support follows the four distinct phases mentioned above under section C.3.2. More specific details will be provided if required within the TO solicitation.

C.3.3 Short-Term Technical Assistance (STTA) for OTI Programs

The Contractor may be required to identify and procure, depending upon the specific needs of the country program, one or more short-term consultants of specific expertise to address discrete issues for program development and implementation (e.g. campaign, polling, media, reintegration of ex-combatants, conflict resolution, engineering) on short notice, in as little as two weeks. STTA may include an interim (1 week to 12 months) PD, DPD, an interim Program Analyst, and other consultants to provide technical assistance for administration, management, operational capacity building, reporting, monitoring and evaluation, and political analysis.

TO COTR concurrence must be secured on all STTA trips and scopes of work. In addition, training materials will be developed in close coordination with identified OTI staff. TOs may require the Contractor to perform the following tasks:

a) Provide technical experts for short-term assignments to support new or existing country programs. Technical program areas include, but are not limited to Peace Processes, Reconciliation, Conflict Resolution, Media, Governance, Small-Scale Infrastructure, Communications, Small Enterprise Stimulus, Civil Society Engagement, Protection, and/or Reintegration. Technical experts may be required in the field or in Washington, D.C.

b) Provide logistical support to STTA activities, including but not limited to procuring and managing travel, program or management documentation, information technology support, telecommunications, facility rental, transportation, lodging, and meals for Contractor staff.

c) Provide technical experts for short-term assignments to support OTI‘s reporting needs, including but not limited to providing quality assurance and editing on reports; developing reports for USAID, inter-agency, Congress, or the public; and assisting with office processes (including but not limited to budgeting, organization, strategy, and evaluation planning).

d) Provide technical experts for information technology and database support, including Social Media, Blogging, Mobile Technology, Geospatial technologies and mapping, and trainings for the users of these tools.

e) Provide technical experts for financial oversight, management, training, and capacity building to benefit program staff, host country and/or grantee recipients.

f) Create and/or provide technical assistance and tools to aid OTI personnel in consistently conveying the knowledge and skills needed for successful, new and current country program management such as field trainings on OTI‘s IT systems, grant development, and best practices and procedures.

C.3.4 Short-Term Activity Implementation

The contractor may be required to develop, award, administer, and procure short-term inkind assistance such as technical assistance and direct distribution of goods and services (DDGS) to local beneficiaries to respond to critical needs in transition/ post-conflict environments. Responding to critical needs can be a catalyst for positive change in transition and post-conflict environments.

The Contractor will ensure that procurements include delivery to the beneficiary, inspection, requisite field demonstrations where applicable, training on use of the commodity, warrantee/maintenance agreements, and monitoring of procurement item use. Illustrative examples of DDGS include media equipment, print materials, clean-up equipment and supplies, and electronic equipment.

Under programmatic STTA, the Contractor provides an expert to an organization or government entity to help them perform a specific function more efficiently and effectively for a short period of time. Under both activity types, the Contractor will work closely with OTI in the process of in-kind assistance identification, development, implementation, and support.

Total amount of in-kind activities and procurement will not likely exceed $500,000 over the course of 6-months country engagement. All activities will be designed in accordance with U.S. government policy and must be cleared by OTI and OAA.


This information is derived from solicitations published on www.fbo.gov. The source documents related to this Indefinite Quantity Contract (IQC) are available below. Interested in researching prime USAID IQC holders? With hundreds of entries, Developmentwork.Net maintains an overview of prime USAID IQC holders here.

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File name Size Last changed  
START_IQC_RFP_(09.01.2011).pdf 8,74 MB 24/09/2011 00:00:00   
Pre-Solicitation_Conference_Agenda.pdf 31,0 KB 24/09/2011 00:00:00   
List_of_START_IQC_Pre-Solicitation_Conference_Attendees.xlsx 16,1 KB 24/09/2011 00:00:00   
Draft_Scope_of_Work_for_START_IQC.pdf 301 KB 24/09/2011 00:00:00   
Copy_of_Revised_START_Budget_Summary_Format.xls 725 KB 24/09/2011 00:00:00   
.listing 663 B 15/04/2017 11:50:33   

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