In this episode, the Acquivores discuss Nick's blog post about DoD's new "Back-to-Basics" initiative for training, the varying levels of discretion that contracting officers have, and what the future holds. Jennifer remains optimistic, while Don thinks we're better off training robots to do contracting.
DoD implemented a Clause Control Policy in 2015 that would require the same degree of transparency in the development and use of "local clauses" by the military departments and defense agencies as FAR and DFARS clauses (see PGI Case 2015-P003 and attached). Specifically, local clauses would be subject to publication for comment in the Federal Register and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). However, not a single local clause has been incorporated in the CFR since the new policy wa
The purpose of this post is to promote The Acquivore Podcast.
As used in this post—
Acquivore means an animal whose mental diet consists chiefly of Federal acquisition. The term includes acquiholics, acquiphiles, acquinauts, acquidemics, and acquimaniacs.
The Acquivore Podcast means a video podcast dedicated to learning about, discussing, and thinking about Federal acquisition.
This post applies to all acquivore
“How do you do simplified acquisition?” is a common question I hear from acquisition personnel that are more familiar with using FAR part 15 procedures to solicit offers and award contracts. The question presupposes that there is a regulated set of procedures that one must follow—similar to what is prescribed in FAR part 15, agency FAR supplements to FAR part 15, agency guidebooks on source selection, and the decisions of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Court of Federal Claims (CO
Scenario: Acme Corporation responds to two different RFPs issued by the Government. RFP 1 is for commercial items and contains the untailored version FAR 52.212-1, Instructions to Offerors--Commercial Items. Acme responds to RFP 1 with Proposal 1. RFP 2 is for noncommercial items and contains FAR 52.215-1, Instructions to Offerors--Competitive Acquisition. Acme responds to RFP 2 with Proposal 2. The deadline for submission of the proposals for both RFPs is June 30. Both of Acme's proposals were
I've chosen the winners of the Plain Language writing contest. The following entry from @Jamaal Valentine was the acceptable entry with the best readability score:
The most humorous entry came from @apsofacto:
There were some others I really liked that didn't win. If we slightly change @bentley78's entry, we get:
Thank you all for participating!
Assume you are soliciting quotes for an item of supply. Suppliers A, B, and C each sell the item for about $100/unit. However, the probability of late delivery is different for each supplier. Supplier A has a 31% chance of delivering late, Supplier B has a 21% chance of delivering late, and Supplier C has a 4% chance of delivering late. There’s a 100% chance that all suppliers will deliver no later than one week after the delivery date and any damages due to late delivery will be negligible.
I invite you to participate in a plain language writing contest. To participate, re-write the passage below in plain language and post your entry in the comments section below. Here is the passage:
You may submit more than one entry. I will score your entry for readability using the Dale-Chall Readability Formula.
Your entry must communicate the essential information in the passage to be acceptable. The acceptable entry with the lowest adjusted readability score will be the winner.
Assume that you are pricing a firm-fixed-price contract using cost analysis. The prospective contractor has included a contingency of $100,000 in its cost proposal of the type described at FAR 31.205-7(c)(1):
There is a 90% chance that this contingency will occur. If it occurs, there's a 100% chance it will cost $100,000.
The prospective contractor can take Precaution A, which will cost $50,000. If the contingency occurs, Precaution A would reduce the chance of the contingency costin
To answer the title question--most likely yes, for DoD. A recent DFARS final rule, Procurement of Commercial Items (DFARS Case 2016-D006), added the following definition at DFARS 202.101:
Since small business concerns are exempt from CAS, most small business concerns would fall within the definition. This has significant consequences because the final rule also added the following at DFARS 212.102(a)(iii):
So, DoD contracting officers can use FAR part 12 procedures to buy both comm
A former student of mine is part of a team conducting a survey to gauge interest in a Mentoring program for Acquisition. If you work in federal acquisition and work for a federal agency (including DoD), please take a few minutes to complete the survey. The more junior you are, the better. From the team:
It's been almost 10 months since the FAR Council issued the last Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC). The streak of inactivity will be broken on November 6 when FAC 2005-96 will be published. The FAC contains a single rule that removes the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule. But that's not what makes the rule so remarkable. Item 16 of the FAC makes changes to the provision at FAR 52.204-8 as follows:
Notice something strange? See that link to a YouTube Video? That's reall
I always thought that the FAR Matrix was a good idea that was poorly executed. To begin with, it's notorious for containing errors. Second, most of the entries in the "Principle Type and/or Purpose of Contract" columns are "A", Required when applicable, which means you have to look up the prescription anyway. Lastly, the matrix isn't going to tell you if your agency deviates from the FAR prescription, which DoD does a lot. As such, I created a matrix that I think overcomes these problems.
It’s time we rethink our approach to the training problem. Our traditional approach is to dictate a blueprint of training classes that must be followed in order to obtain prescribed levels of certification. To put it in acquisition terms, we’ve been using a design specification. What if we were to use a performance specification instead? What might that look like? Before answering these questions, we should identify what it is we are trying to achieve with training.
The purpose of traini
In January 1944, the Office of Strategic Services, a wartime intelligence agency and predecessor to the modern Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), issued Strategic Services Field Manual No.3 (Simple Sabotage Field Manual) to its agents to aid the Allied war effort in Europe. The purpose of the classified document was to explain the technique of simple sabotage, outline its possible effects, and present suggestions for inciting and executing it. It introduced the concept of simple sabotage as foll
I'm looking for feedback on a tool that I'm creating for DoD. Basically, it would be a single document that would contain the FAR, DFARS, DFARS PGI, and DoD Class Deviations. The concept is similar to that used in the General Services Administration Acquisition Manual (GSAM), where both regulatory (GSAR) and nonregulatory information is integrated into one document and distinguished by shading. The main difference is the document that I envision also contains the FAR. I've attached a sample of w
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
--Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
When Better Buying Power (BBP) 1.0 was first issued in September 2010, then Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, & Log
In a earlier blog entry, I posted a draft version of the provision at FAR 52.212-1 tailored for simplified acquisition procedures and requested comments. First, I'd like to thank everyone who provided comments. I believe the final version (below) is an improvement over the draft. Second, Carl Culham suggested that I include instructions on how to incorporate a tailored version of FAR 52.212-1 into a solicitation. I thought that was a good idea, so I will include instructions in this entry. T
In Latvian Connection General Trading and Construction LLC, B-408633, September 18, 2013, the Comptroller General denied a protest of a solicitation issued by an Air Force unit in Oman for armored cable to be used at Thumrait Air Base, Oman. At issue was the Air Force’s decision to not automatically reserve the acquisition for small business concerns, which both the protester and the Small Business Administration (SBA) argued was required under the Small Business Act. The protester relied on 1
I recently gave a course on simplified acquisition procedures where I was again confronted with the use of the provision at FAR 52.212-1 Instructions to Offerors--Commercial Items in requests for quotations (RFQs) issued pursuant to FAR part 13. (We discussed this issue in the Wifcon forum before here and here). The problem is that the provision was not designed for use in RFQs under FAR part 13. To begin with, the provision requests "offers"--not quotations--which are different (see the defi
In a recent DoD IG report, the Army Contracting Command was cited for its failure to perform "component assessments" on 23 contracts subject to the Buy American Act (see DoD IG Report No. 2015-026). The report states as follows:
Not having ever heard of such a requirement, I checked the reference to this requirement, which was allegedly located in DFARS 252.225-7001( a )(3)(ii)(A). DFARS 252.225-7001 is a contract clause entitled "Buy American Act and Balance of Payments Program". The claus
Section 1331 of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (Pub.L. 111-240) recognizes the significant opportunities that exist to increase small business participation on multiple award contracts and the ability of set-asides— the most powerful small business contracting tool—to unlock these opportunities. Under Section 1331, Federal agencies may: (1) set aside part or parts of multiple award contracts for small business; (2) reserve one or more awards for small businesses on multiple award contracts
In competitive acquisitions, it is common for solicitations to require offerors to conduct surveys of their past and present customers using standard questionnaires developed by the contracting office. Offerors are typically instructed to send the questionnaires to their customers with instructions to send the completed surveys to the contracting office. This information is then used to evaluate the offeror past performance. In effect, individual contracting offices have shifted the burden fo