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Don Mansfield

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Blog Comments posted by Don Mansfield

  1. 2 hours ago, here_2_help said:

    could the CO use Part 15 procedures for the others but use Part 12 procedures for the NTDCs?


    It's a popular misconception that FAR part 12 procedures are for commercial items and FAR part 15 procedures are for noncommercial items. When acquiring commercial items, the CO will typically use one of three contracting methods:



    12.203 Procedures for solicitation, evaluation, and award.

    Contracting officers shall use the policies unique to the acquisition of commercial items prescribed in this part in conjunction with the policies and procedures for solicitation, evaluation and award prescribed in Part 13, Simplified Acquisition Procedures; Part 14, Sealed Bidding; or Part 15, Contracting by Negotiation, as appropriate for the particular acquisition.


     As such, I think what you're asking is if, when acquiring noncommercial items on a competitive basis, the CO should prepare one solicitation for NTDCs (containing commercial provisions & clauses) and one for others (containing noncommercial provisions & clauses). That's a good question. I don't know.

  2. On 3/31/2018 at 9:14 AM, C Culham said:
    1. The DoD does market research.

    2. DoD determines not to set aside and it is a procurement that does not use Commercial Item acquisition procedures.

    3. The DoD also determines that adequate competition will not occur and includes DFARS Clause 252.215-7070.

    4. A small business responds and states it is a non-traditional defense contractor and states that it is not providing certified cost or pricing data.

    5. The CO treats the supplies/services of the non-traditional defense contractor as if they are commercial items and agrees that cost or pricing data is not required. 

    In the first scenario I think I have it right but what about the second one?   It seems that DoD has forgotten or has on purpose failed to give the “may” option to CO’s with regard to DFARS Clause 252.215-7010 as there is no exception available to the CO if the offeror is a non-traditional DoD contractor.

    I think you have it right in the second scenario, too. The solicitation will also include DFARS 252.215-7013. I don't understand your last sentence.

  3. On 4/1/2018 at 12:08 PM, here_2_help said:

    I would correct your statement to read "ALL small businesses are non-traditional defense contractors..."

    That's not necessarily true. Remember that it's possible for a contractor to be small under some NAICS codes, and not small in others. So, it's possible that a contractor that is small under one NAICS code has performed a CAS-covered contract under a different NAICS code. Also, it's possible that a contractor was not small when it was awarded a CAS-covered contract, but is small now. That's why I used "most" in the blog entry.

  4. 6 hours ago, policyguy said:

    Seems to me to be a technical correction that does not require public comment.  On what basis do you assert that this requires public comment?  

    I base it on 41 U.S.C. 1707(a), which clearly states:




    §1707. Publication of proposed regulations

    (a) Covered Policies, Regulations, Procedures, and Forms.-

    (1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9t-slLl30ERequired comment period.-Except as provided in subsection (d), a procurement policy, regulation, procedure, or form (including an amendment or modification thereto) may not take effect until 60 days after it is published for public comment in the Federal Register pursuant to subsection (b) if it-

    (A) relates to the expenditure of appropriated funds; and

    (B)(i) has a significant effect beyond the internal operating procedures of the agency issuing the policy, regulation, procedure, or form; or

    (ii) has a significant cost or administrative impact on contractors or offerors.




  5. On 5/22/2017 at 8:44 AM, Melissa Rider said:

    All of you are welcome to be part of the solution.  If anyone would like to share your best practices and have them considered for insertion in the Section 809 Panel's submittal to Congress or there is a part of DFARS or FAR that is completely impeding your abilty to get work done, please submit your recoommendations, including what you think the final change needs to look like, to https://section809panel.org/contact/

    Be the change you want to see in the world!



    If the Panel wants to find out the types of things that are impeding people at the working level, setting up the web site is nice, but it's not enough. People at the working level are working. Most have already filed away or deleted the e-mail from the Panel soliciting feedback that had already been forwarded three or four times. If the Panel wants to know how the regulations are impeding people's ability to get their work done, they should read the kinds of questions being asked in the Wifcon forums or in Ask-A-Professor. Many of the questioners are being impeded by the regulations, but they don't know it. The Panel should read the Nash & Cibinic Report, which contains recommendations for improving the regulations in every issue. 

    Also, you'll reach more people if you don't make them write out their problem and justify why it should be changed. Most people at the working level are young, they would respond to something interactive and fun like Ranker.com. 

  6. uva383,

    The use of FAR 52.216-18 or DFARS 252.216-7006 would be discretionary. The policy for the discretionary use of FAR provisions and clauses is stated at FAR 12.301(e):


    Discretionary use of FAR provisions and clauses. The contracting officer may include in solicitations and contracts by addendum other FAR provisions and clauses when their use is consistent with the limitations contained in 12.302.

    When you see an "N" in the "CI" column of the matrix, block E5 explains "Entries of "N" indicate that provision or clause may not be used unless its use is consistent with the limitations at FAR 12.302. See FAR 12.301(e)."

    Make sense?

  7. On 10/10/2016 at 6:29 AM, C Culham said:

    I suspect you went to a lot of work to create and it would take same to maintain as the FAR/DFAR and additional 31 Agency Supplements change.

    The only FAR supplement that the matrix includes is the DFARS. I have no plans on adding non-DoD provisions and clauses (unless someone qualifies for my incentive).


    On 10/10/2016 at 6:29 AM, C Culham said:

    I wonder if the effort is worth it when many depend on database programs to assemble the solicitation/contracts these days?

    I had been maintaining a Solicitation Preparation Guide, which received ~200,000 hits over the last 12 months and ~550,000 hits total. The guide contained prescriptions for all the provisions and clauses applicable to commercial items, which I kept up to date every time the FAR/DFARS changed, or a class deviation was issued. I found that this is what people mainly used it for. The guide will now direct people to the matrix, so I expect the same amount of traffic for the matrix at least.

    19 hours ago, Jamaal Valentine said:

    NOTE: I take it the Air Force does not qualify for the agency provisions and clauses ...

    No. The provisions & clauses have to be in the CFR. 


    47 minutes ago, TBone said:

    isn't the prescription for FAR 52.204-5 Women-Owned Business (Other Than Small Business) found at 4.607(a) instead of 4.607(b) as indicated?

    Yes, it is. My reference to FAR 4.607(b) was taken from the FAR matrix. I'll put DOE's clauses in the next version.

  8. On 9/19/2016 at 0:22 PM, REA'n Maker said:

    How many 1102's in their 20's and 30's can grasp the ostensible reasoning behind "raising the dollar threshold for the submission of certified cost or pricing data to an amount at which the likely benefit will exceed the requirement's costs", or knew that the "Defense Acquisition Regulation" was even a thing?  The problem is simply that 1102's in their 20's and 30's are still learning the ropes, and don't sit around ruminating on high-level process improvements, or work in a shop where C&P data is used, or care about SAP.   One of the great ironies is that the blue-hairs tend to be the only ones with enough experience to identify an issue, understand its relationship to other issues, and understand the implications of potential solutions (I did work with a colleague who became an SES at 29, but she had only major systems experience - and only lasted as an SES for 3 years.)

    If you were up on murder charges, would you pick the radical and indecorous young firebrand as your lawyer, or the experienced old hand?  I agree new ideas are needed, but unworkable suggestions from inexperienced members of the community aren't really the answer.   In a quasi-legal field such as procurement, you can't really just throw an idea against the wall and see what sticks; you need a fully-formed idea from the get-go. 

    In sum, great suggestions in principle, but nearly impossible in reality.

    "Young people are the future; now belongs to us!"

    REA'n Maker,

    Your post reeks of reverse ageism. 

  9. 52 minutes ago, uva383 said:

    Would a student that chose the web based instruction for material like contract law or acquisition planning be able to switch to classroom for a math based class? Or would they be locked into web based instruction for the entire certification? 

    A student would always have a choice of how to prepare for a particular exam.

    55 minutes ago, uva383 said:

    Under this format how would you tie performance and successful or unsuccessful outcomes to the employee and the instructor? Would you recommend termination of an employee that cannot pass the classes?

    A student wouldn't pass or fail a class--they would pass or fail an exam. As far as terminating an employee who couldn't pass the exam, I don't think it should be automatic. However, it could be a possibility. As for instructors, I do think that there should be some accountability for their students' performance on the exams.

    1 hour ago, uva383 said:

    Also, given the current shortage of instruction in the classroom setting as demonstrated by reduced class offerings and long waitlists, how would your new format allow for scheduling issues or having to go outside of the DAU curriculum to obtain equivalency for some limited classes? 

    The whole problem with equivalency goes away with my proposal. Providers other than DAU can structure their training however they want. No need for a DAU seal of approval. All that matters is the results--everybody must pass the same exams.

  10. 11 hours ago, uva383 said:

    Would you agree that the methods of training today's workforce are different than it was 15-20 years ago, and are these methods ineffective and should we attempt to return to older formats? Or has the issue of an largely poorly trained workforce always been there and you just had more knowledgable individuals that could carry the weight and mask the issue(s)?

    I went through DAU training ~20 years ago and the difference was that everything was in the classroom. I guess it was more individualized in the sense that I interacted with an instructor who was physically present instead of interacting with a Web-based training module. The move to distance learning at DAU began about 15 years ago. Some felt that the quality of the training suffered. Shay Assad thought DoD should go back to the classroom for introductory training and that's why we now have CON 090. I think that was an improvement, but to go back to my original analogy, all we did was modify the design specification. So, no, I don't think we should just return to older formats. I think we should let the employee choose the format and hold them accountable for the results.

  11. 56 minutes ago, ji20874 said:


    The problem is that shaman might be the one selected to write the module that will grade everyone else's competence in fair opportunity considerations.  Or, to reference an earlier example, the dimwit who thinks the determination to include options has to be in a FAR Subpart 1.7 D&F format might (likely will) be selected for that module.  I fully support the idea, but I would likely be deeply troubled by the implementation details.

    I think that the exams should be centrally developed, administered, and controlled to mitigate cultural bias. I would keep it at the DAU level for DoD and FAI level for civilian agencies.

  12. 15 hours ago, uva383 said:


    I like the idea of it, but how would you deal with that in today's workforce. I can only speak to my experience within DOD, but I doubt that it is different in the civilian world, given that some of my peers came from that world, I just have never worked in it so I can't speak to it directly. That being said... I find that each service, and often each MAJCOM within the service views things differently and therefore you can ask folks in each different group the same question and get different responses. A good example of this is what satisfies the requirement of the "determination" required by FAR 17.207(d). I've been at several agencies, and talked to and witnessed multiple KOs state that this determination means a D&F, as required by FAR 1.704, when pressed on the issue, as I learned early on in my career after reading one of Vern's posts on that very subject, the ultimate answer for why do you think that a formal D&F is required is... because that's how we do it here or that's what our policy office says. 

    IMO no amount of training, or no style of training will be able to overcome the agency thats how we do it... especially if the application at the local level is incorrect because someone that goes to training and learns all these great things comes back is either discouraged because they hear "I don't care how DAU taught you... this is how we do it" or they start first at their agency, and then go to training, and can tell that there are differences in what is being taught, and get cross threaded because they cannot distinguish between these differences. 

    I've always been curious... there seems to be quite a focus on the lack of training of today's workforce what's changed from how you learned contracting, and what would it take to go back to that model? 

    Every professional has to deal with the tribal customs of the organization they work for. I am familiar with the type of problem you described and have experienced it myself. Recently I visited a tribe, let's call them the IDIQ tribe, where the shaman couldn't understand that a contract specifying a definite quantity didn't have a "ceiling". All she could see was evil spirits when I tried to explain. This is a different problem that may or may not be solved by what I'm proposing. 

    I don't think training used to be good and now it is bad. The major difference between then and now is delivery--some training is now Web-based. I don't see a significant difference in quality.

  13. 17 hours ago, here_2_help said:

    Given the (revised) definition, it seems that any learning that is "one size fits all" is not meeting the second part of the definition -- i.e., the learning needs to address the conditions under which the student will perform the task. Thus, it seems we need to tailor the training.

    If you're saying that it's necessary to tailor the conditions to the learner, I don't agree. In a learning objective, a condition is simply a description of the resources or tools the learner will need to complete the measurable or observable behavior. A condition is usually established with the word "Given" followed by such phrases as

    • a set of questions
    • a scenario
    • a series of problems
    • a visual representation of an object
    • a list of conditions
    • a choice between,,,
    • materials, or
    • a calculator.

    Some instructional designers think of it in terms of the conditions of testing (or assessment), because they are trying to communicate the conditions under which the student will be asked to demonstrate mastery of the knowledge and/or skills learned. In my experience, the most important condition for students is whether the exam is open or closed book.

    17 hours ago, here_2_help said:

    I was also struck by your use of actuaries rather than accountants in your example. Once an accountant passes the CPA and other related tests they are good to go -- but need to document a certain amount of continuing professional education each year. (If memory serves it's 120 hours over 3 years with no more than 80 counting in any one year.) Again, though, we are talking about a rigorous examination that a certain amount of takers are expected to fail. But once over the hurdle, you are in the profession.

    I'm more familiar with the actuary field. From what you described, it seems like the accounting field already uses the performance-based model--successful completion of required exams instead of attendance at required courses. Seems to work ok.

  14. 4 hours ago, Desparado said:

    So if I understand the proposed solution correctly, if an 1102 were to move from an office that did installation support (like a military installation) using primarily Simplified Acquisition to an office with another agency (or perhaps the same one) and started working A/E actions, they would need to complete an additional Level II course.

    Under the current model, the new office may require the employee take an A/E course that would include an exam at the end (like CON 243). Under the proposed model, the new office would require that the employee pass an exam similar to the one given in CON 243 instead. No required attendance in a classroom.

    4 hours ago, Desparado said:

    How would this work in smaller offices where the 1102 has to do several types of contracting?  When I started out at a military installation I did Simplified Acquisition, Construction, Services and IT Acquisition all on any given day.  Under this scenario would I have had to be Level II qualified in all these areas?  I think having specialized certifications would create problems for the agencies and the workforce.

    "Installation contracting" could be a specialty all its own--like a multidisciplinary major.

    4 hours ago, Desparado said:

    Although the current system is far from perfect, if it is going to be changed it will need to be flexible enough to facilitate all types of offices. With all its faults (and I admit there are many), the current system does provide some basic foundational contracting principles that can expand to most (if not all) types of contracting. The costs to administer a specialized program is something else that would have to be considered. With the trend of movement of 1102s that I've seen over the last few years, people would be constantly taking training/tests for new certifications. 

    Intriguing idea, but I don't know how it would work from a practical standpoint.

    I do not see any additional costs for what I am proposing. I do see savings each time a student opts not to attend a class and prepares for the examination on their own, though.

  15. 1 hour ago, Confused1102 said:

    3. To make the tool more useful, do you plan to incorporate clauses? Or a clause matrix? While the matrix isn't full proof, it is a tool to help start looking at clauses for RFP's, exporting it to excel makes it even more useful.  I think a consolidated clause matrix across the regulations would be a powerful tool, although possibly a separate project from your current endeavor.

    I'm working on a consolidated clause matrix, too.