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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?
I'm wondering how other contracting offices are looking at the matter of conference travel. Many agencies have restrictions on and high approval levels for "conference" travel. What is your office's position? Is a pre-bid conference (FAR 14.207), pre-solicitation or pre-proposal conference (FAR 15.201( c )( 8 )), or industry or small business conference (FAR 15.201( c )( 1 )) a conference under your agency's restrictions on "conference" travel? Or do you see these as mission travel? I am aware of the FTR definition of conference, but that would make essentially EVERY trip a conference.