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Wanted to get the community's take on this. 

What is the difference between a "government supply source" (identified in FAR 51.101) and a "government source of supply"?  

Is this part of the FAR simply allowing authorized use of federal supply schedules, or could it be applied to such vehicles as DHS Eagle II, DOD vehicle, or other non-FAR Part 8 vehicle at GSA or elsewhere.

Thoughts?

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Maybe FAR 51.102(c)(5) will be helpful?  It doesn't appear to have any limitations.  Practically, though, I have only ever heard of this process being used to allow contractor ordering from schedules and government stock.

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From a contractor view, could you please clarify what you are trying to do? Are you asking whether FAR 51.1 may authorize the sale of vehicles to contractors (and if so, not sure what supply source sells such vehicles), or use of such vehicles by contractors? Perhaps others in this forum would benefit and be able to better respond. What led up to your focus on FAR 51.1? Was FAR 51.2 inapplicable?

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On 10/30/2017 at 10:29 AM, jonmjohnson said:

Wanted to get the community's take on this. 

What is the difference between a "government supply source" (identified in FAR 51.101) and a "government source of supply"?  

Is this part of the FAR simply allowing authorized use of federal supply schedules, or could it be applied to such vehicles as DHS Eagle II, DOD vehicle, or other non-FAR Part 8 vehicle at GSA or elsewhere.

Thoughts?

FAR 51.100 says:

Quote

This subpart prescribes policies and procedures for the use of Government supply sources (see 51.102(c)) by contractors. In this subpart, the terms “contractors” and “contracts” include “subcontractors” and “subcontracts.”

Emphasis added.

Now read 51.101(c), which reads:

Quote

(c) Contracting officers shall authorize contractors purchasing supply items for Government use that are available from the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled (see Subpart 8.7) to purchase such items from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if they are available from these agencies through their distribution facilities. Mandatory supplies that are not available from DLA/GSA/VA shall be ordered through the appropriate central nonprofit agency (see 52.208-9(c)).

Emphasis added.

I don't see anything there that would include DHS Eagle. Nor do I see anything that would include a non-DLA DOD contract or GSA contract for other than items that are available through their "distribution facilities," whatever those are. But see 51.102(c)(5):

Quote

or (5) Approval from the appropriate agency for the contractor to use a Government supply source other than those identified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(4) of this section.

I'm just reading the words in the regulation. I have no idea what is actually being done. 

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Vern/jj...so I read the same as you, and I am concluding that although there are some vehicles that are not identified in the regulation, so long as you have permission from the vehicle owners then it can be done.  At least there is nothing stated in regulation that would prohibit this in practice, and it appears allowable based on 51.102(c)(5).

This is not an uncommon practice for agencies that leverage managed service providers in federal IT to grant FAR 51 authority, however there may be some vehicles that could possibly be used than the ones mentioned within 51.102(c)(1-4).  For example, cloud services can be acquired via GSA Alliant, NASA SEWP, and NITACC.  What about hard line telecommunication/network services?  That can be had by Networx/EIS.  Would these be examples of a "government supply source" without being considered a (mandatory) "source of supply"? 

This later point I just found interesting.  Why use the terms interchanably?   “Source of Supply” appears pretty specific in FAR Part 8 “Required Sources of Supplies and Services”, and it appears to be what people jump to when they allow for FAR 51 buying authority.  That being said, FAR Part 8 is specific to “required sources” for first consideration, meaning that there are other sources that exist.

I raise this because I think FAR 51 authority is going to be a trend in federal contracting particularly for federal IT.  Agency’s are being asked to tighten belts, and the supply of COs/KOs are not going to be able to keep up with the demands of CIO offices.  As agencies modernize their IT infrastructure and operations, IT program offices and contracting shops are going to have a difficult time keeping up with the demands and expectations.  

This may be all for nothing and just a thought exercise.  Just thinking thinks.  Thanks Vern and jj.

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