SeaPort™ establishes a system in which electronic signatures, transactions, contracts, and records have the same legal effect as their paper-based counterparts. The SeaPort™ system is designed to comply with the guidelines and requirements of the "Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act" (ESIGN) and the "Government Paperwork Elimination Act" (GPEA), using the following procedures:
- Only authorized persons are permitted to engage in legally binding electronic activities such as signing/submitting a proposal, and signing/awarding the Task Order. Generally speaking, this requirement is enforced by maintaining SeaPort™ user accounts with predetermined authority requirements (i.e., authority to legally bind the user's organization), and having username and password controls.
- The authorized user is required to confirm the intention to engage in any legally binding electronic action. Generally speaking, this procedure is enforced by displaying a notice that the user has requested a legally binding activity and requiring an affirmative/confirming response before the system will permit the requested action. The affirmative/confirming response serves as the electronic signature event.
When an authorized user requests and confirms a binding action, the system automatically and securely records that event and stores the legally binding content related to that action. Generally speaking, the system (i) records the authorized user (account) that requested/confirmed the binding action; (ii) records the date and time the binding event occurred; and (iii) stores a final or "locked down" copy of the information, documents, or other materials associated with the binding event (e.g., a copy of the proposal or task order).
Once the information related to a legally binding event is stored by the system, that information (i) can not be altered or modified in any way by any user--including the authorized user who initiated and confirmed the action; and (ii) remains accessible and retrievable (via the SeaPort™ website) by the parties throughout the records retention period required by law.
The Task Order Process clause (H-7) of the MAC contracts sets forth the specific requirements and procedures for electronically preparing and executing legally binding documents related to a Task Order (TO). The process is summarized as follows:
- Government Issuance of TO Solicitations: An authorized person (e.g., the Procuring Contracting Officer, or "PCO") logs in to the SeaPort™ system and electronically generates and releases the TO Solicitation. The binding version of the TO Solicitation is posted to the SeaPort™ website in Portable Document Format (PDF).
- Contractor Submission of Proposals: Before the closing date and time specified in the TO Solicitation, an authorized user (i.e., an employee or agent of the MAC Contractor with authority to bind the company) logs on to the SeaPort™ website and generates the proposal by entering appropriate information into the required data fields and/or by "attaching" related proposal documents. When the authorized user indicates that the proposal is ready for submission, the system prompts the user to confirm the intent to electronically sign and submit the proposal materials. Once confirmed by the authorized user, the system records the identity of the user and the date and time of the submission, and stores all of the proposal information (data and attachments) securely in the system. Once signed/submitted, the proposal materials can not be modified except by submitting a new, amended proposal using the same signing/submission process (prior to the closing date/time).
- Government Execution/Award of TO: After the closing date for offers, NAVSEA will evaluate the proposals in accordance with the TO solicitation document. Upon selection of a MAC holder for award, an authorized Government user (i.e., the PCO for that TO) then logs on to the SeaPort™ system and generates the TO using information provided by the successful offeror, such as Section B pricing. When the PCO indicates the TO is ready for award, the system issues the prompt to confirm the intent to electronically sign and award the TO. Once confirmed by the PCO, the system records the identity of the user and the date and time of the signing/award, generates a final PDF version of the TO, and stores all of the information securely in the system. This PDF version is treated as the legally binding, bilaterally executed, version of the TO. Once awarded, the TO can not be modified except by electronically signing/awarding a TO amendment using these processes.
In the event that the SeaPort™ system is not operational, experiences technical difficulties, or a MAC Holder is temporarily unable to access or use the Portal, the MAC Holder shall immediately notify the procuring contracting officer (PCO). The PCO shall allow alternative/manual submission of written proposals in these circumstances.