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Fear & Loathing in Contracting

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  1. thank you- yes I have read through these- and since we are buying more 6 1/2 years worth of a requirement at one time and there are no options- sure looks like a multi-year contract to me. When I raised this with my supervisor, he said no way it was multi-year since it was not approved by Congress. I went to the Policy folks at HQ and they agree with me... but then legal came back and agreed with my supervisor. We are all at a loss at this point and are open to some other opinions hahaha!
  2. How the contract is classified will drive what type of approvals I will have to pursue from those above me.
  3. The following has triggered quite the debate at work: We have a 6 1/2 year year Foreign Military Sales (FMS) requirement. It will be a "C Type" contract with no options. It will be funded 100% upfront with non-expiring FMS funds. Will this be a multi-year or multiple year contract?
  4. Has anyone recently used FAR 15.102 oral presentations in any source selections? If so, what were your experiences? The good, bad, and the ugly. How did you use them? As a substitute for written information? Just to augment written information? If you have used them (or are simply just aware of any) do you know of any prior/sample RFP's you could direct me? Thanks
  5. Is anyone aware of the existence of any studies connecting the adjustment of key variables in the source selection process to improvements in acquisition outcomes? After digging around, so far the only one I was able to find was a DEC2015 NPS report entitled, "RELATIONSHIP OF SOURCE SELECTION METHODS TO CONTRACT OUTCOMES: AN ANALYSIS OF AIR FORCE SOURCE SELECTION." It is actually very good and useful; but it would be great if there was any more out there. Also- is anything like this being pursued as a research topic at any traditional universities? In other words, are there any non-DoD/Agency schools out there pursuing this in a traditional economics department? Operations Research? If done properly and comprehensively I could see the results of research such as this saving a lot of money and time- while improving performance.
  6. This is an ACAT program so requirements are are controlled via the JCIDS process. As this is to be a production contract, its requirements must be driven by an approved CPD, which in this case is an Army CPD. The USMC requirements trace back to specs that they are sending to the Army PM folks who then blend it into their docs and then say- no impact on our stuff- ok. And since we are talking about several 100 M here, with USMC covering a bit more than half- they of course want to be part of the source selection process. Specifically, they want folks on the eval boards. Further complicating things is the PM wanting multiple contractor support folks to be part of the evaluation team. I aggressively fought this until I met them- and they really do know this system far better than anyone else.. In regards to NDI status, folks higher up on my side have told me- even though whoever won the award would most likely have to do some development work to handle the major USMC driven config adjustment, as long as we do not contract with them for this development work (and they wrap up in their price) then it is OK and we it is still an NDI. True? Make sense? There is a lot of pressure on this puppy and from many angles. Some are really pressing collaborating with the CORP (helps you make full bird...lol), others are freaking out when they hear about USMC level of involvement on a non-joint program, some want to shove this into a NDI status, others are very concerned that we might lose an offeror with the config change in, and there is a very limited pool of offerors- so if even 1 drops out we could very well end up in a sole source scenario. We have been trying to get PM out of sole source mode for 5 plus years now... so this would be a major set-back...
  7. I am an Army Contracting Officer in charge of the source selection for the production of an Army system. Since it always looks good for the program management folks to reach out to the other services (demonstrates you understand the “big picture”), this has occurred. In this case, the USMC wants to “be part of the procurement.” On the contracting side, it has always been our position to attempt to accommodate where it makes sense and when it does not jeopardize our core objective of meeting the Army mission. Now in the current situation, the participation of the USMC is considerable. Their desired portion/impact has the following characteristics: (1) They would be getting about 55% of the produced systems; (2) They would be providing about 55% of the funding; (3) About 20% of the specifications are not shared between the Army and USMC, so the USMC systems would require adjustment; & (4) A small but critical portion of the USMC systems would require a major configuration change. Some other important factors: The Army has based its decision to move ahead with this acquisition based on the system being COTS or an NDI. This is not a designated joint program and there is no formal agreement between the Army and USMC (no MOA exists). There is also a question as to whether the major system configuration change desired by the USMC falls under COTS or NDI. As an Army contracting officer, I want to do the right thing and best serve the Warfighter (which includes marines). We are very much encouraged to do this. Alternatively, this is not just adding on a few extra systems for the USMC; this is slightly over half of the procurement. I (we) have already sketched out numerous legal/ regulatory pitfalls, etc., but I do not want to influence anyone. What does everyone think about this? What are some ideas on how to best resolve?
  8. Clarification: The contractor would have agreed at the time of the original award to provide the increased rights, but the price would have been much higher. The customer business decision balanced the price (at the time) against identified benefits and made the business decision not to purchase the increase rights.
  9. There are multiple software and data rights clauses on the prime contracting including DFARS 252.227-7013, 252.227-7014, 252.227-7015, & 252.227-7027. I have been particularly focused on DFARS 252.227-7014(b)(4) "...may be modified by mutual agreement.." How though does this solve the scope issue?
  10. The following scenario pertains to a major system that is in the final stages of a "smart" shutdown and its related primary development contract. The original large sole source contract was awarded 3 years ago. A critical system component is a piece of software that the contractor asserted as exclusively developed with IR&D funding and having Restricted Rights. At the time, the Government made the business decision to accept the software with these rights. Since then, the program has been placed under Smart Shutdown and the contractor and PM have had some conversations on purchasing the sofware with Unlimited Rights (for future spin-off systems use). The cost to the Government for these improved rights is about 10% of what had been roughly quoted back at the time of original contract award. The projected "purchase" price of these increased rights is about 2/10th's of a percent of the overall contract amount. Bottom Line Question: Can these rights be increased through the use of an in-scope contract modification? Would this supplemental agreement be within the scope of the original contract? Additional Key Factor: We are running out of time on this shutdown system (we are in fact on borrowed time). I am being told that I will "probably" need to do this as an out-of-scope mod, thus will require a J&A, etc... all time killers. Are they correct? What is the point??? This change will not change the function of the system (in it's remaining days), the dollar magnitude is negligible, this is the only time anything like this was done under this contract (so no cumulative impact), and it does nothing to increase the complexity of the contract. Lastly, whatever the rights were at original contract award- there would have been no impact on competition as this was sole sourced.
  11. The term "embryonic requirement" was probably not the best choice of words. I meant to convey that it is very early in the source selection process. The requirement is actually "moderately mature." It is for a configurable software solution that serves to integrate/coordinate/co-configure capabilities across a family of systems. Most of the family member systems are either in the last steps of development or sustainment. Even "moderately mature" is a bit of a loaded term. The PM group (who is driving this RFI) has been designated as the "Trail Boss" leading all the systems groups that need to be pulled under this system-of-systems requirement. So one can imagine with all these competing pressures- they are having their challenges. Thanks for all the great input everyone. It is very helpful and appreciated.
  12. RFI. It basically asks about whether your SW can do X, Y, Z, etc... and then asks to elaborate on certain aspects of the SW. Responders submit a white paper & fill out a supplied grid chart. RFI has since closed and there were more than a dozen respondents. Customer now wants to "evaluate" the responses and "down-select" to no more than 3. These 3 will be invited into a lab setting to demo their SW. Based on lab results, observations, SW performance capabilities/limits, etc... the customer will then use this info to help flush out/adjust the requirement.
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