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REA'n Maker

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Everything posted by REA'n Maker

  1. You might try "the FFP contract is based on an 1,880 hour standard" shtick. Despite the glaring logical fallacy, it has always worked for me (I don't know whether to be pleased or horrified).
  2. IDIQ Decision

    "Shall" does not imply "choice": 15.403-4 Requiring certified cost or pricing data (10 U.S.C. 2306a and 41 U.S.C. chapter 35). (a)(1) The contracting officer shall obtain certified cost or pricing data only if the contracting officer concludes that none of the exceptions in 15.403-1(b) applies. Nor is it a 20-year-old "anecdote"; it is a 100% valid and relevant scenario to this day, particularly in DoD. The CO did make many, many judgement calls based on imperfect information, as was his job. I myself was very adept at explaining in a PNM how DCAA misinterpreted a specific cost treatment; I was the one having the ongoing negotiations after all, and DCAA had only one shot at it. But spit-balling is not an option when procuring a developmental item/major system. Perhaps you didn't understand the core point: the CO could do nothing about a contractor who pulled back a negotiated Part 15 proposal due to the fact that the contractor could not certify the C&P data (or even GAAP for that matter), i.e., they didn't have a priced proposal on the table. The fleet wasn't going to wait to deploy until the bean counters worked their magic, and negotiating with yourself is generally considered poor trade-craft... (PS - If any CO "relied like a crutch on DCAA", they'd spend their entire career hopping around on one leg. )
  3. Warning To Proposal Writers (and Agency Evaluators)

    It's pretty clear: they wanted the offerors to do the agency's job (impute meaning, define relevance, and quantify value). But heck; I'm going to follow the AF's lead, and state the eval criteria on my next RFQ as "quotations shall be IAW with the FAR and other applicable regulations, which will be evaluated on a 2-step, pass/fail basis".
  4. IDIQ Decision

    Touche'... One other legitimate UCA circumstance where "no one was at fault" was what we had to deal with in the 1990's: defense contractors constantly being bought/sold /merged, which caused havoc in the negotiation process. You could hardly crack a proposal open before it was pulled back because guys like GE Aerospace became Martin Marietta became Lockheed Martin over a time frame measured in months (test gear for the F-14 IRST in my case, i.e., not even terribly complicated). All of whose C&P data required some level of DCAA blessing before we could conclude negotiations. Hence, a UCA until the CAS issues were resolved. Adam Smith's fault I suppose? (I, for one, don't believe there is any relationship between UCAs and FY-end spending.)
  5. IDIQ Decision

    Wow. This thread has wandered so far off the Reservation that we can't even SEE the Reservation anymore.
  6. Maybe they need to be reminded of what the "F" and the "A" in "FAR" stand for? I suggest you tell them that they are free to ignore the FAR, but good luck getting their acquisition through the procurement shop. It's like building a train car and saying the gauge is the track guy's problem. 1.102-4(e) seems pretty clear on the specifics. Good luck.
  7. I used to know a professor who had the perfect rejoinder to the direction in which this discussion is headed: "Stop questioning the hypothetical!!!" It's market research, assuming they can abandon the trial at any time with no consequence to the agency, financial or otherwise.
  8. PTA above ceiling price — how big a deal, really?

    Yes; it was a tough read though considering that it brought in several obtuse concepts such as "debt concessions". Ignoring the extraneous offset calculations, it looks like the key data points supporting your position are in (g) and (h)? Specifically: $ 1,517,031 (30% of overrun) - $550,724 (Target Profit) = $966,307 (Total decrease to final cost) As a thought experiment, doesn't this approach allow the scenario whereby the profit offset is so high that allowable costs = 0? (not likely, but logically possible) That case looks incredibly complicated (a government claim; Chapter 11) , with the FPI calculation forming but a small part. One wonders if the vagaries of the calculation got lost in the noise.
  9. PP Neutral Rating

    Wouldn't you have to include an RFQ term to the effect that "offerors who have been determined to possess relevant past performance, but who fail to submit questionnaires, shall be smote accordingly" in order to address your hypothetical ? What is to stop them from simply not submitting a list of prior contracts? No list; no failure to distribute questionnaires. How a contracting agency would unilaterally determine that relevant PP exists, when the offeror fails to identify it on their own, is a question for another day.
  10. PTA above ceiling price — how big a deal, really?

    I have a hard time believing that you can penalize a contractor by zeroing out his profit, and then continue to use that same profit calculation to eat into his legitimate cost base. Is the way to look at it that "the PTA ceases to be an operative concept when it is greater than the ceiling?" If your total contract price is above the ceiling, the PTA is the least of your problems. To me, that is the teaching point in the OP's scenario.
  11. My diagnosis is that any pain you are feeling most likely results from all that torturing of basic contracting principles you have been engaging in. For example, you talk about a "TA ratio share agreement", and then say "The subK has the incentive to be more expensive". Which is it? Is there an agreement, or is the sub free to bill whatever their evil hearts desire? Then, you round the corner again by saying "the subK has little if any recourse" regarding their share, while simultaneously saying they can stick it to the prime in order to "maximize their share of the pie". Maybe I wasn't clear enough. I'll try and simplify my "revenue split" comment as much as humanly possible: At the proposal stage, prime signs a TA with a subcontractor to perform X% of work estimated at $Y FFP (as OP stated); After prime contract award for $Y', prime makes an FFP subcontract award for X% * $Y' , minus a 1% pass thru; The sub performs to the SLA in their contract (which involves monitoring service level performance, not "watching them like a hawk"); Prime disburses X% * ($Y'/12) of the monthly prime contract payment to the sub (minus the aforementioned pass thru). You'll note that the original poster stated on 7/23 exactly what I am saying above, so I 'm not sure how you got off on to that "manage by hours" tangent. Why you think "final rates" and "indirect expenses" have any relevance here is also quite incomprehensible, but I'm not going to even go there out of sheer lack of patience. So the gist of your argument is that LH vehicles encourage lower labor rates, thereby 'maximizing the number of labor hours' and reducing the burn rate, with the result being 'more funding available' ? Suffice to say, "on that note, I take leave of this conversation."
  12. PTA above ceiling price — how big a deal, really?

    Both of your scenarios are perfectly valid in addressing different risk profiles. As the buyer's assumption of overrun costs increase, the PTA drops, which makes perfect sense. Maybe the best way to state the question is whether a particular share scenario is appropriate for a particular situation, rather than whether a particular share scenario is a good thing in a purely objective sense.
  13. "You can drive a car with your feet if you want to; it don't mean it's a good [gosh darn] idea!" - Chris Rock
  14. Then why withhold basic information such as the sub's share of the pie? They can look it up on FPDS after award anyway. I agree with C. Culham: your company is not really looking for a 'teaming' agreement. Theoretical Physicist hours? Mail Room Clerk hours? How would that work with multiple LCATs? ....and even then, relevant clauses such as Limitations on Subcontracting are measured in dollars, i.e., 'revenue'. Basing share ratios on a revenue split encourages efficient subcontract management; basing share ratios on hours encourages...burning up all the hours. Why would I not want my sub to have an incentive to complete their work ahead of schedule ? I think you might be confusing the hours-based estimating techniques used to derive the revenue split with the actual subcontract terms.
  15. Ah. I think I'm seeing your point. You infer the "...and then during...." language to mean that the base/option periods are distinct and the LOS should be measured as such, which is certainly a reasonable interpretation. I've always read that to mean the base & option periods are additive (it is one vehicle/effort after all), but as many others have pointed out, the entire LOS clause is rather ambiguous: http://www.publiccontractinginstitute.com/far-52-219-14-limitations-on-subcontracting/ As a practical matter, your interpretation reflects best practices anyway. Any contractor who predicates compliance with the LOS clause on an option exercise would be playing a very foolish game.
  16. Court Order and the FAR

    You are over-thinking this. I was a Judicial Branch (AOUSC) CO, with responsibility for the ankle monitor contract. The fact that the end user was a convicted felon and the requiring activity was a Federal judge was irrelevant. It was a contract for supplies and associated services that was paid for out of AOUSC's appropriated funds, just like any other vehicle. (But the Judicial branch isn't subject to the FAR, just to muddy things a bit)
  17. Well....an FFP LOE would facilitate such a review of a BOM only until the hours ran out, so I would say, "no". Why wouldn't you just estimate the total FFP effort using the number of items on the BOM as your basis of estimate? It is finite and tangible. I would use an FFP/LOE for something like "what is the statistical rate at which items on the BOM will go obsolete in any given year?"* The confidence interval associated with the resulting deliverable would be defined by the LOE. (*Edit: Better example - "FFP/LOE contract to identify major challenges and areas for further study associated with sending an unmanned mission to Planet 9.")
  18. How does that conflict with my statement that "It seems to me that one of the core problems with the LOS clause is that you can't truly measure for compliance until the PoP is over."?
  19. "Breakdown Activities" for the Contracting Workforce

    A genuine passion for the business of procurement and acquisition, to the point of being annoying (which usually culminates in nerd fights over whether for example "the -7 or -8 clause is appropriate") An understanding of, and a belief in, your agency's mission. An understanding that contracting is not the mission of your (or any) agency. Knowing where and how you fit. Ability to be a calming influence in tense business situations (i.e., don't be an egomaniacal know-it-all, even if you know-it-all). Closely related : Ability to keep your mouth shut when necessary. Talent for understanding competing interests and how to navigate a path between those interests. Empathy. Ability to pull together complex, disparate information to create unique solutions. Having enough confidence in your own abilities to share your expertise with others.
  20. What I'm saying is that you can't necessarily expect a defined outcome under an FFP LOE. If I were hiring engineers, I would want a finished product (a spec, etc.) An FFP LOE is a highly specialized vehicle with a lot of risk for the government, i.e., all the vendor is really required to deliver is hours and report on "...results achieved through application of the required level of effort".
  21. I assume you mean 'the BOE for evaluating the total FFP is 2080 hours'? I'm being purposely pedantic because of how often in practice these estimating/evaluation yardsticks end up in the resulting FFP contract (i.e., 'Units' are measured in hours). Poor tradecraft in my opinion.
  22. FFP LOE vehicles are VERY restricted in their application: 16.207-2 Application. A firm-fixed-price, level-of-effort term contract is suitable for investigation or study in a specific research and development area. The product of the contract is usually a report showing the results achieved through application of the required level of effort. However, payment is based on the effort expended rather than on the results achieved. One of the biggest illusions in federal acquisition is seeing the FFP LOE contract as a get-out-of-jail-free card.
  23. LPTA Question

    Because I find it hard to believe that an agency "would realize no, or minimal, value from a contract proposal exceeding the minimum technical or performance requirements set forth in the request for proposal" when evaluating an approach. If I had (for example) a "checklist of required tasks" that had to be met, that would be one thing. But the very fact I've asked for an open-ended "approach" makes me believe how the task gets done is important to me. I just don't see how you square that circle.
  24. LPTA Question

    From my experience, the fact that something is not actually a PBA hasn't prevented a single person from coding it as a PBA.... "What gets measured gets done"
  25. LPTA Question

    I would be very nervous about applying pass/fail on a "technical approach". Forest for the Trees question: what is your motivation for wanting to do pass/fail rather than apply adjectival ratings? Doesn't that kind of box you in?
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