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Jamaal Valentine

Consolidation

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DFARS 207.170-2, defines "consolidation of contract requirements" as the use of a solicitation to obtain offers for a single contract or a multiple award contract to satisfy two or more requirements of a department, agency, or activity for supplies or services that previously have been provided to, or performed for, that department, agency, or activity under two or more separate contracts.

Would two Departments* (Navy/Air Force) coming together to combine two requirements by issuing a single solicitation and awarding a MAC be considered a consolidation as defined?

*edited to change Agencies to Departments

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Would two Agencies (Navy/Air Force) coming together to combine two requirements by issuing a single solicitation and awarding a MAC be considered a consolidation as defined?

Did you look at the policy for Interagency Acquisitions (FAR 17.5/DFARS 217.5)?

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DFARS 207.170-2, defines "consolidation of contract requirements" as the use of a solicitation to obtain offers for a single contract or a multiple award contract to satisfy two or more requirements of a department, agency, or activity for supplies or services that previously have been provided to, or performed for, that department, agency, or activity under two or more separate contracts.

Would two Agencies (Navy/Air Force) coming together to combine two requirements by issuing a single solicitation and awarding a MAC be considered a consolidation as defined?

Good question. Although the DFARS isn't always consistent, when you see "department" and "agency" used together, "department" refers to the military departments (Army, Navy, and Air Force) and "agencies" refers to the defense agencies (DARPA, DLA, DCMA, etc.). According to DFARS 202.101:

“Departments and agencies,” as used in DFARS, means the military departments and the defense agencies. The military departments are the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force (the Marine Corps is a part of the Department of the Navy). The defense agencies are the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Commissary Agency, the Defense Contract Management Agency, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Defense Security Service, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the United States Special Operations Command, and the United States Transportation Command.

So I think your question should be "Would two departments (Navy/Air Force) coming together to combine two requirements by issuing a single solicitation and awarding a MAC be considered a consolidation as defined?"

Assuming that neither department would be combining two or more of its requirements in your scenario, then I don't think the combination that you described would meet the definition of "consolidation of contract requirements" when read literally. I would check the Federal Register notice for this rule just to make sure that it doesn't mean something other than what it actually says.

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Don:

Thanks for the reference to definitions of departments and agencies.

Policyguy:

Is there anything specific in those subparts that you'd like to highlight?

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SBA would very likely say it is indeed a consolidation of contracts, and imprecise language on the definition of government entities would not allow an exception. If your dollar value is high, escalate the issue for concurrence, and go back and look at the Final Rule and latest amendments for any information that would suggest this would be interpreted as a consolidation of contracts.

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fizzy:

Do you have any references to which Final Rule you speak of, I'll check it out? All I could find is the following:

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/06/03/2015-13421/federal-acquisition-regulation-consolidation-and-bundling-of-contract-requirements

Consolidation as defined in the proposed rule, cited above, and the Small Business Act at 15 U.S.C. 657q uses the term "Federal Agency", which is the same as "Executive Agency" in FAR 2.101. Executive Agency means a "military department", etc..

There is no reason to believe the authors mean anything other than what they drafted in my opinion.

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SBA would very likely say it is indeed a consolidation of contracts, and imprecise language on the definition of government entities would not allow an exception.

The definition is not imprecise. It comes from the statute (Section 801 of P.L. 108-136, Nov. 24, 2003).

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fizzy:

I don't necessarily disagree that some would say it is a consolidation. People believe and say all sorts of things. That's partly why I asked if it would be considered a consolidation as defined.

I don't know what the spirit and intent was, outside of what's provided, but any authoritative reference to interpretations of the rules as written vs. rules as intended is always welcomed.

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DFARS 207.170-2, defines "consolidation of contract requirements" as the use of a solicitation to obtain offers for a single contract or a multiple award contract to satisfy two or more requirements of a department, agency, or activity for supplies or services that previously have been provided to, or performed for, that department, agency, or activity under two or more separate contracts.

Would two Departments* (Navy/Air Force) coming together to combine two requirements by issuing a single solicitation and awarding a MAC be considered a consolidation as defined?

Am I wrong to think that the interpretation of the definition is a simple matter of being able to understand English? I have highlighted the relevant language. Look at the word "that" in the phrase "that department, agency, or activity." Am I missing something? Am I wrong to think that the answer to the question is obvious, absent some authoritative interpretation to the contrary? Have I misinterpreted the question?

Unless each of the two agencies previously fulfilled its requirement through two separate contracts, getting together to fulfill their separate requirements under a joint contract is not a consolidation per DFARS 207.170-2.

Now, why am i wrong? And I don't care what SBA might think. The question is about interpretation of the DFARS. In any case, I believe that the statute, although worded differently, seems similar to the DFARS definition in interpreted application.

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This is just political advice from experience on consolidation of contracts, not advice on interpretation of statutory language. Just good willed advice- escalate and get consensus to CYA.

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OP, please let us know how this turns out for you. I'm very curious. Mr. Edwards, the answer to your question is to escalate and seek consensus on the definition of consolidation of contracts through the chain of command. I did not find such black and white answers as would be suggested in this thread as I escalated this matter through my chain of command. My interpretation means nothing if my chain of command, or my SBA liaison, or my legal counsel had another point of view.

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fizzy:

I raised the question here with the intent of creating a dialogue within the forum community. A round table discussion of sorts.

I personally don't believe it applies and wouldn't present the question to my leadership (outside of my direct boss) unless I held a dissenting opinion based on some authoritative reference. I'm still new and building credibility. I believe your name is your brand and I want to build my brand's strength and value, not jeopardize it unwisely.

I would simply follow the rules as written.

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Mr. Edwards, the answer to your question is to escalate and seek consensus on the definition of consolidation of contracts through the chain of command. I did not find such black and white answers as would be suggested in this thread as I escalated this matter through my chain of command. My interpretation means nothing if my chain of command, or my SBA liaison, or my legal counsel had another point of view.

Thanks, fizzy. I understand your point.

But having spent time in the military, I don't think of escalation or going through the "chain of command" as seeking consensus. I think of them as seeking guidance, direction, or approval. In my thinking, subordinates don't seek consensus with higher levels in a chain of command. Consensus among equals; guidance, direction, or approval from higher ups.

After I had been in the contracting business for a while, I learned not to seek consensus, guidance, direction,or approval until I had developed an opinion, an argument to support it, and a plan or proposition. When I went to my boss, technical counterpart, legal counsel, or SBA PCR, I acted as if acceptance of my plan or proposition was a foregone conclusion. If any of them disagreed, we'd talk. I never escalated up the chain of command in a disagreement with my boss, and I never did it otherwise unless I could't reach agreement at my level and couldn't live with what someone else wanted.

Later, when I became a boss, if I gave someone an assignment and they kept coming back to me for direction (Should I do X or Y?), I'd say, What's your recommendation? If they didn't have one, I'd throw them out of my office. If they had one, I'd say, Why? followed by specific questions. In my opinion, a subordinate seeking direction without an opinion of his or her own that is backed by an argument is less than worthless.

I considered escalation to be a sign of failure and sometimes a sign of incompetence. I still think that way. My higher ups had their own problems; they didn't need mine. The staffs had their own issues; I didn't want theirs to impinge on the resolution of mine.

If an issue is a knotty one, I don't have a problem with seeking others' opinions. But you have to be careful about that if you'll have to go back to them for an approval or a legal nihil obstat. An opinion, once formed, can be a roadblock.

But as I said, I understand your point.

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Mr. Edwards, your explanation has made me realize two things. First, there is (was) not anyone in my supervisory chain of command at the time I was thinking about this particular matter who had any knowledge of contracting or legal matters whatsoever, so the idea of seeking guidance or direction from them just doesn't (wouldn't have) make sense. Second, despite not having knowledge or expertise, no independent decisions by people who are responsible for knowing something about contracting matters are allowed by those in the chain of command. Rather than consider a person who forms an opinion and makes a decision competent, the leadership finds such behavior highly threatening and seeks out ways to reverse, undermine, and chastise all independent decision making. My comment made perfect sense to me, but in contrast to other professional environments, I can clearly see how it might not make sense.

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Thanks, fizzy. I understand your point.

But having spent time in the military, I don't think of escalation or going through the "chain of command" as seeking consensus. I think of them as seeking guidance, direction, or approval. In my thinking, subordinates don't seek consensus with higher levels in a chain of command. Consensus among equals; guidance, direction, or approval from higher ups.

After I had been in the contracting business for a while, I learned not to seek consensus, guidance, direction,or approval until I had developed an opinion, an argument to support it, and a plan or proposition. When I went to my boss, technical counterpart, legal counsel, or SBA PCR, I acted as if acceptance of my plan or proposition was a foregone conclusion. If any of them disagreed, we'd talk. I never escalated up the chain of command in a disagreement with my boss, and I never did it otherwise unless I could't reach agreement at my level and couldn't live with what someone else wanted.

Later, when I became a boss, if I gave someone an assignment and they kept coming back to me for direction (Should I do X or Y?), I'd say, What's your recommendation? If they didn't have one, I'd throw them out of my office. If they had one, I'd say, Why? followed by specific questions. In my opinion, a subordinate seeking direction without an opinion of his or her own that is backed by an argument is less than worthless.

I considered escalation to be a sign of failure and sometimes a sign of incompetence. I still think that way. My higher ups had their own problems; they didn't need mine. The staffs had their own issues; I didn't want theirs to impinge on the resolution of mine.

If an issue is a knotty one, I don't have a problem with seeking others' opinions. But you have to be careful about that if you'll have to go back to them for an approval or a legal nihil obstat. An opinion, once formed, can be a roadblock.

But as I said, I understand your point.

I agree. When I was a GS 12 office engineer in a large Area Office in Saudi Arabia handling changes, claims REA and other modifications and contract administration duties, our GS-15 Area Engineer at the time had a policy of not coming to him to ask what to do unless you already had the answer and just needed his authorization to proceed. He was a busy guy, as we were executing more than a million dollars a day of construction. I had a situation where there were three possible alternative actions. As I explained the first one he said "Ok, go do it" before I could explain the other two, one of which was my recommended solution. I had to sheepishly apologize for not leading off with that option. I learned then to "begin with the end in mind", as Stephen Covey taught several years later. When I became a supervisor and after learning how to delegate, I expected my employees to find answers and tell me what they would do or were planning to do and why, rather than throw the monkey on my back to spoon feed them. I learned to expect and to allow them to do their homework, not to do it for them. I never kicked a problem up the chain of command for an answer , only for approval or to challenge something that I thought unwise or wrong.

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fizzy:

I was saddened to to read your last post, but I can tell you that I've heard similar stories from others and seen similar situations first hand in some consulting assignments.

It's too, too bad, but that's the way it sometimes is.

Vern

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