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    Deception & surprise, combined arms maneuver to encircle and destroy the enemy, T-34-85 Soviet Medium Tanks.

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  1. Asking for a PPQ from a reference is like asking someone to go out on a date with you. If they don't want to go on a date with you, you shouldn't keep asking them to go on the date with you. Ask someone else.
  2. You're right about the regs. Its allowed (I think). But... The problem is not what any particular reg does or does not state, its what the COR thinks they state. Talking to the COR will be more productive than trying to prove a negative (that the FAR, et all. does not prohibit them doing a PPQ).
  3. Irrespective of what you are buying, three methods to finding an appropriate PSC. 1) Ask the seller. If they are experienced with the federal government, they'll know. 2) Reference previous contracts for the same thing, and see what PSC was used then. In house contracts or FPDS. 3) Punt. Ask Program Office. If particularly important and difficult, ask for help from Legal.
  4. This overlaps with the much ballyhooed 'Smart Contracts.' Which run on the blockchain, the blockchain I tell you, blockchain! /sarcasm Smart contracts execute pre-determined actions when predetermined conditions have been met and verified. Basically, (if -> then) contracts that are entirely outcome driven. Much research these days looking into how smart contracts can be used by Government agencies, and presumably some of that research is about funding and legal authority. Also, https://govlab.hks.harvard.edu/pay-success
  5. See Veterans Healthcare Supply Solutions, Inc. B-409888. Quote, from GSA: "If the procurement at issue is for a single SIN, then it would stand that both/all members of a CTA would need to have the particular SIN on their respective FSS contract." My very unofficial understanding of this protest and how CTA's work is: 1) Despite the quote, my position is that a CTA member who does not hold the referenced SIN isn't necessarily ineligible. The CTA's proposal would need to demonstrate how the CTA member helps provide the solution. Like, for a given HACS need, I could see how a solution may involve closely-related SINs (like CDM or PKI) and have a CTA member who has those SINs, but not the cybersecurity. In contrast, I doubt a CTA member who has a unrelated IT SIN (say, A/V equipment) could legit join a CTA for cybersecurity. 2) This protest is from 2014, and GSA has changed how the schedules work since then, so this reasoning may not be fully valid in 2021. 3) The solicitation matters, since it can customize what types of CTAs can respond. For example, an RFQ may state that all CTA members must hold a specific SIN. 4) There are lots of protests about CTAs.
  6. In terms of the basic legal part, you definitely CAN enact a contract mod to increase the value from $385M to $1B, under the right circumstances. Such as getting the funds to cover the increase, and getting God-level approval for a huge, non-competitive, out-of-scope modification (possibly an equitable adjustment?) that reflects poorly on everyone involved, having OIG parachute in, and other unpleasant things. Basically, you want stuff that you thought would cost $10. And now it seems like it will cost $30. As Vern notes, you have limited options: 1) Get another $20 2) Get only about 1/3 of the stuff you had planned on getting. 3) Pick up your marbles and go home (terminate, find a different means of acquiring the stuff). Quarrelling about whose at fault for the variance between $10 & $30, stalling for time, or being unhappy with situation won't change these options.
  7. As everyone else here has noted, don't mix FAR 15 and FAR 8.4. Vern's quoted GAO decision has the key phrase - " fair and equitable." What's important is not so much what the CO tells to one particular offeror, but rather how the CO treats the offerors with respect to each other. Whatever criteria the CO uses to engage with one vendor should be used for all vendors. This isn't complicated, nor does this criteria need to be mechanistically implemented. The CO's criteria could be quite straight-forward 'I'm not going to bother telling offerors about 'weaknesses' that are unlikely to have an impact on who gets awarded." In your case, what the CO is doing regarding 'discussions,' while not the preferred method (using FAR 15 procedures), does appear to be 'fair and reasonable' because they are treating the offerors the same. Usual caveats apply.
  8. Agree with the grey beards 😁 Its is not a competition issue. FAR 13: Contracting officers may solicit from one source if the contracting officer determines that the circumstances of the contract action deem only one source reasonably available Your circumstance: This order fixes a mistake. We bought the wrong size product, returned product to vendor, have credit, and now want to use credit to buy correct size product from same vendor. I can't speak to the mechanics of how credits in ECATS work, but in my experience, every procurement system has a way of dealing with 'oops. we bought the wrong thing and want to exchange the wrong thing for the right thing.' You can explain the vendor that simply they have your money, you have nothing in exchange, and they either give you your money back or give you the product you want, figure it out.
  9. I have read many books on the Eastern Front (no surprise) - but not that one. I'll check it out. Come and See. As a combat veteran, its one of the few war movies I can tolerate, but I will probably never watch it again. The sound design is incredible, like nothing else. I've heard about a similar film 'The Ascent' - but haven't built up the fortitude to watch it.
  10. Agree. Remember that complexity vs. complicated discussion? Well, the word 'subcontract' appears in the title of 21 clauses, and a total of 1,771 times in FAR 52. I suspect prime contractors add 52.219-9 because they (reasonably) read the application in 19.708 and think 'well, that's us.' - rather than wading through that complexity.
  11. I wonder if this is true. My policy analysis training wants me ask 'failed compared to what?' I want to compare the US fed acq system to other systems. Are comparable acquisition systems - large states like CA, TX or NY, or overseas with vaguely similar legal structure like UK, EU, AUS, or Canada - 'better than' the US FAR system? By what metrics would the FAR way be better or worse? Someone, somewhere, has done this comparative analysis.
  12. Its a bit of a linguistic game, of course, but my vote is - Complicated, not complex. The Federal acquisition system has bazillions of parts, so its pretty complicated, but it doesn't have those properties I associate with complexity. It doesn't have emergent behavior- like there isn't anything about it that is more than the sum of its parts. At least, not that I observe.
  13. This is a thing that probably every B-School or general management book covers, something like 'empower your team' or 'how to delegate to your direct reports' Google re:Work has a bunch of stuff on this. https://rework.withgoogle.com/ Get *honest* feedback from the CO's themselves as to why they are acting like that, and listen to it. Explicitly define the responsibilities. Don't micromanage. In your case, perhaps that means refusing to answer the question. Forgive mistakes. "I told you to make your own eval criteria, and you did, and your sol flunked review. That's okay. Let's go through, and try again."
  14. https://hallways.cap.gsa.gov/app/#/doclib Many examples. Maybe hundreds.
  15. Part of a pitch I'm putting together for management. Essentially, I am arguing that we need some technology solutions to simplify some work processes that are frequent, time-consuming, and 'brainless' (ie, can be straight-forwardly handed-off to software). As an example of this type of process , I drilled down into exactly what should be done to correctly use the extremely common FAR Clause 52.212-5, within my department, HHS. It appears to be worse than I thought when I started out. HHS has three separate deviations for clause 52.212-5. In addition, the -5 clause refers to multiple clauses which themselves have different HHS deviations. By my count, the 52.212-5 clause, in order to be compliant, has to refer to at least four different HHS deviations. These deviations have mandatory language that cites clauses which are obsolete, or have been removed from the FAR. My conjectures: 1) Not a single -5 clause in any HHS contract in existence is compliant, in that they correctly identify the (at least) four deviations, and have updated deviation language. 2) Very few people, possibly just me, are aware of this fact (if it is true). 3) Very few people who know or who learn this fact, possibly nobody (myself included), actually care enough to get it right. I am venting. I have no questions. I would like to be wrong though, so please let me know if I am.
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