I had missed this in my review of the RFQ, but one of the many people working in the background on these issues pointed this out on page 9 of the RFQ:
“The contractor shall carry out all required activities (e.g., research, data analysis and interviews) in order to provide the Office of Administration with a thorough, data-driven business case. This includes incorporating best practices, facilitating team discussion sessions, assisting the team with research activities, and documenting and outlining a plan for an alternative service delivery model at the Department.“
“Alternative service delivery model” = a training platform in lieu of sea year. Yes, its bureaucratic-speak, but what else could that mean?
Remember that S.2829 (passed the Senate and pending in the House) requires the creation of a study to “assess whether the USMMA should continue with sea year training on privately owned vessels.” The study committee is top-heavy with state school representatives and virtually no Kings Point representation (other than the Superintendent, and we know where he stands on this and the Academy Sexual Assault Response Coordinator.) (More on S.2829 in this post.)
So, it’s not a stretch to believe that MARAD is afraid that the offensive language in S.2829 will be stripped out in Committee and is using the RFQ to create its own study commission to accomplish the same goal. And that goal, ultimately, is the funding of state school ships at the expense of Kings Point. It’s the $300 million question.