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Request for Solutions: ATHENA – Training and Experimentation for Capability Development
Updated: 5 September 2018
Notice: Submission Date Extended to September 7, 2018, 5:00 PM EST.
Questions Answered (Click to Download/View): ATHENA Questions and Answers 5Sep18
Note: In the Q&A posted on 5 September, the Government inadvertently released the available funding profile for this effort – with an explanation that provided more confusion than answers. In an effort to correct that wrong, we are providing the full funding information contained within our planning document as follows: “Initial funding of $400,000 FY18 O&M is currently available for the initial Phase 1 COTS evaluation of current wargaming suites, with the possibility of expanding to between $2M to $4M FY 2018 RDT&E for the further prototyping development. Additional funding may become available based on the offeror’s solution and the outcomes of the preliminary pilot of enabling COTS technologies and capabilities.”
The United States Army Future Studies Group is seeking demonstrable processes and system(s) with enterprise and field level capability to identify, demonstrate, and assess innovative commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) wargaming suites that support training, education, and concept development. The Government will evaluate the solutions with the intent of negotiating an Other Transaction Agreement under the Training and Readiness Accelerator (TReX).
2.0 Solutions Summary and Service Background
2.1 The United States Army desires processes and system(s) with enterprise and field level capability to support combat development through wargaming interfaces that collect data and enable omnipresent interfaces that promote experimentation along two vectors: competitive strategies and big data/AI. The delivered solutions will fall into three distinct categories: 1) Competitive Strategy Gaming Environment; 2) Wargaming Platform; and 3) Omnichannel Advising Assistant. These three lines of effort all fall under the ATHENA prototype project.
2.2 The name ATHENA was chosen for two reasons. As the Greek god of wisdom and strategy, the name captures our intent to gain a better understanding of how we fight and use it to develop new concepts and capabilities. Second, the name was previously used by an experimental effort in the early 1980s at MIT exploring how computers could be used to enhance education. Like that initiative, we view ATHENA as an education vehicle, but one that has the added benefits of 1) informing concept and capability development in support of Army Cross Functional Teams and 2) providing a testbed for experimenting with narrow AI decision tools. If successful, ATHENA could be transitioned to a program of record along these lines.
2.3 The Competitive Strategy Gaming Environment will provide a table-top exercise- like process and unclassified interface using existing Microsoft Office tools like Access that facilitates competitive strategy games. These games will use insights from across the service and think tank community about the future operational environment to design defense planning scenarios over time. Participants will replicate major competitors consistent with the National Defense Strategy and U.S. services and make investments using baseline, unclassified data on RDT&E and procurement expenditures. The idea is replicate competitive investments dynamics in support of Army Futures Command and the Cross Functional Teams and the prioritization of modernization investments.
2.4 Wargaming Platform will adapt COTS war-games at the tactical through operational level. These games will be easily tailored through the scenario engine to allow units to introduce new capabilities consistent with larger service-level investments options. These games will also provide a structured dataset based on game play that allows for future narrow AI applications. Last, these games will provide tactical-level (company and battalion) education vehicles optimized for officer professional development sessions and professional military education.
2.5 Omnichannel Advising Assistant will consist of adapting Alexa-like platforms to work with unclassified tactical terms and tasks. These tools should be used in conjunction with the Wargaming Platform to experiment with warfighter assistances that help offset cognitive load and enable operational judgment.
2.6 Vendors may bid on one or more solutions. Competitive Strategy Gaming Environment, Wargaming Platform, and Omnichannel Advising Assistant are each considered a solution.
2.7 The desired prototype(s) will be an open, accessible, collaborative wargaming environment that helps military professionals increase their “reps and sets” in fighting peer competitors and enhances mission effectiveness and military readiness.
2.8 The Government anticipates that follow-on production contracts or transactions may be awarded to the Vendor(s) of this effort without the use of competitive procedures if the participants in this transaction successfully complete the prototype project as outlined within this Request for Solutions and in accordance with the initially proposed individual solutions.
2.8.1 Further prototyping, if the initial prototype project is successfully completed, is anticipated to include, though not necessarily all inclusive, establishing the technical baseline for Minimum Viable Product(s), providing the Operational Test & Evaluation articles, procuring a limited amount of licenses to support limited deployment, and defining a deployment and sustainment strategy for full production.
2.9 The Army seeks to focus on mission outcomes and the enabling services and data, while allowing technology to be continuously inserted and modernized without disruption to the user community.
2.10 Vendors interested in responding to this Request for Solutions must be members of the Training and Readiness Accelerator (TReX).
3.0 RFS Responses:
3.1 The Vendor’s proposed solution should describe their approach to delivering a unique solution for the components of ATHENA as outlined in Section 2 and the Technical Criteria below.
3.1.1 Competitive Strategy Gaming Environment
a. The vendor is desired to ideally have a track record performing future-oriented table top exercise-style games with a military intent.
b. The vendor is desired to produce short scenarios that build over time and demonstrate an ability to leverage unclassified, best-in-breed futures products.
c. The vendor is desired to produce rules for conducting a competitive strategy game.
d. The vendor is desired to provide a plan on how to run the game using simple interfaces like Microsoft Access in order to ensure ease of use and adaption.
e. The vendor is desired to host at least one iteration of the game and generate report (15-20 pages) on observations. The iteration tests the larger construct as well as applies the competitive strategy framework to support the Army.
3.1.2. Wargaming Platform
a. The vendor will ideally have a track record producing war games that replicate modern (i.e., Cold War forward) military capabilities in ground combat.
b. The vendor is desired to demonstrate the ability to build custom scenarios in response to Army requirements.
c. The vendor is desired to demonstrate the ability for users to build their own scenarios and modify weapons and capabilities through simple interfaces like Excel.
d. The vendor is desired to demonstrate the ability to capture data through devices as simple as an ops log or through direct data files that define game play in a structured manner.
e. The vendor is desired to demonstrate the ability to host unclassified games on an open server architecture to encourage game play.
3.1.3. Omnichannel Advising Assistant
a. The vendor is desired to have a track record producing omnichannel devices.
b. The vendor is desired to demonstrate the ability to load tactical tasks into an omnichannel framework similar to “Alexa-like” like questions.
c. The vendor is desired to demonstrate the ability to analyze data and produce complex dialogic functions based on user interaction.
3.2 Intellectual Property (IP) Rights and Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software: Vendor shall propose the intellectual property rights and rights in technical data and computer software to be delivered with your solutions, clearly outlining any restrictions. If additional pages are needed to provide restrictions, they may be submitted as an appendix – though your initial approach should be clearly outlined within your technical response.
3.2.1 All IP and technical data and computer software rights remain negotiable based on individual Vendor solutions.
3.3 Anticipated Delivery Schedule: Vendor shall include the anticipated delivery schedule to reflect their individual solution.
3.4 Proposed Pricing and Milestone Payments: Vendors will submit a fixed amount price for their prototype solution, further divided into severable milestone payments as appropriate. Your pricing submission shall be submitted together with the technical response as an appendix. There is no limit to the page length for the pricing appendix, though it should be noted that cost detail is not being requested.
3.5 Provide your nontraditional* business status or your ability to meet the eligibility requirements of 10 U.S. Code § 2371b on the cover page of your response. Within your response, please check the following box which applies – with appropriate justification if applicable.
There is at least one nontraditional defense contractor or nonprofit research institution participating to a significant extent in the project. All significant participants in the transaction other than the Federal Government are small businesses or nontraditional defense contractors. At least one third of the total cost of the project is to be provided by sources other than the Federal Government.
*Nontraditional – an entity that is not currently performing and has not performed, for at least the one-year period preceding the solicitation of sources by the Department of Defense (DoD) for the procurement or transaction, any contract or subcontract for the DoD that is subject to full coverage under the cost accounting standards prescribed pursuant to 41 U.S. Code § 1502 and the regulations implementing such section.
3.6 In addition to your nontraditional business status, the cover page of the response will also include the company name, Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code (if available), address, and primary point of contact including phone number and email address.
3.7 All questions related to this RFS should be submitted in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, with “ATHENA” used in the subject line. Questions must be submitted no later than 12:00 PM EST on August 23rd. Questions received after the deadline may not be answered. Questions shall not include proprietary data as the Government reserves the right to post submitted questions and answers, as necessary (and appropriate) to facilitate Vendor solution responses.
3.8 Responses will be submitted no later than 5:00 PM EST on September 7th. Your response should be submitted electronically to email@example.com, with “ATHENA” used in the subject line. Any submissions received after this time on this date may be rejected as late and not considered.
3.9 Technical responses shall not exceed seven pages in length, utilizing standard 12-point font, with five pages added for each additional line of effort. Charts or figures directly relevant to the solution may be referenced and submitted as appendices and are not bound by the 12-point font requirement or page count. Any pages submitted outside of this page length requirement, outside of standard charts and figures, will not be reviewed. Cover page does not count towards page count.
Number of Responses Number of Pages Total Number of Pages
One Line of Effort
Two Lines of Effort
Three Lines of Effort
Pricing Appendix: As Needed
4.0 Selection Process
4.1 Individual responses will be evaluated with consideration given to the vendor’s ability to provide a clear description of the proposed solution, technical merit of the response and total project risk. The proposed project price, schedule, and intellectual property rights assertions will be considered as aspects of the entire response when weighing risk and reward. The Government will evaluate the degree to which the submission provides a thorough, flexible, and sound approach in response to the identified Technical Criteria in Paragraph 3.1.
4.2 The Government will award this project, via TReX, to the respondent(s) whose solution substantiates to be most advantageous to the Government, cost, schedule, technical risks and other factors considered. The Government reserves the right to award to a respondent that does not meet all of the requirements, but provides attributes or partial solutions of value, of the Request for Solutions.
4.3 If sufficient validation of the claim is not provided, the Government may reject the submission. Assessment of risks is subjective. If the risk is obvious or the schedule seems overly aggressive, the Government will consider that in their total risk assessment.
5.0 Additional Information
5.1 The costs of preparing and submitting a response is not considered an allowable direct charge to any government contract or agreement.
5.2 Export controls: research findings and technology developments arising from the resulting prototype project may constitute a significant enhancement to the national defense and to the economic vitality of the United States. As such, in the conduct of all work related to this effort, the recipient will comply strictly with the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (22 C.F.R. §§ 120-130), the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (DoD 5220.22-M) and the Department of Commerce Export Regulation (15 C.F.R. §§ 730-774).
5.3 Interaction and/or Disclosure with Foreign Country/Foreign National Personnel.
The Vendor should comply with foreign disclosure processes IAW US Army Regulation (AR) 380‐10, Foreign Disclosure and Contacts with Foreign Representatives; Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 5230.11, Disclosure of Classified Military Information to Foreign Governments and International Organizations; and DoDD 5230.20, Visits and Assignments of Foreign Nationals.
5.4 All submissions will be unclassified. Submissions containing data that is not to be disclosed to the public for any purpose or used by the Government except for evaluation purposes will include the following sentences on the cover page:
“This submission includes data that will not be disclosed outside the Government, except to non-Government personnel for evaluation purposes, and will not be duplicated, used, or disclosed — in whole or in part — for any purpose other than to evaluate this submission. If, however, an agreement is awarded to this Company as a result of — or in connection with – the submission of this data, the Government will have the right to duplicate, use, or disclose the data to the extent agreed upon by both parties in the resulting agreement. This restriction does not limit the Government’s right to use information contained in this data if it is obtained from another source without restriction. The data subject to this restriction are contained in sheets [insert numbers or other identification of sheets]”
5.5 Each restricted data sheet should be marked as follows:
“Use or disclosure of data contained on this sheet is subject to the restriction on the title page of this submission.”
To view or download the updated request for solutions (RFS) and the Answers to Submitted Questions, click the following hyperlinked text.
Active TReX Membership will be required to submit a solution for this RFS. To start your TReX Membership application and registration, please visit TReX Membership.
Any questions regarding the opportunity should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.