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I'm an intern and I am working on my first 8.5 million dollar DOD contract. I was wondering if there was a online program that you could plug in contract information and it would tell you what clauses apply to your contract. Anyone ever heard of this? If so could you please provide me a lnk to this web site. Thanks

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Take me now, Lord.

I guess this question was like telling the new guy to go find the left handed Monkey wrench. I was actually told that there was such a program by a seasoned Contract Specialist. I guess i'm going to have to look out for the next wild goose chase I get selected for. LOL

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I'm an intern and I am working on my first 8.5 million dollar DOD contract. I was wondering if there was a online program that you could plug in contract information and it would tell you what clauses apply to your contract. Anyone ever heard of this? If so could you please provide me a lnk to this web site. Thanks

Duke,

As an intern (and perhaps as a computer savvy young person [?]) you've likely come to work with many automated software programs that perform acquisition-related functions for you. That being the case, I'm not surprised by your question, though in the case of clauses and provisions appropriate for contracts and solicitations, looking for a computer program to "do it for you" is more than a little concerning. Prescriptions for the inclusion of clauses and provisions are sometimes very complex and almost always depend on the individual circumstances of your acquisition. Many times determining whether or not a clause is appropriate for a certain acquisition requires a CO/CS to delve into the text of the prescription and clause/provision text itself to decide if it is appropriate. There is no computer program that can do this.

Additionally, remember that clauses and provisions are important terms and conditions of your contract and solicitation. They can require performance, inform the parties of important information, protect interests of the parties, and implement Executive Orders. As a CO/CS, it is vital that you know not only what clauses/provisions are included in your contract/solicitation but also what those clauses/provisions say and mean. Read them. Know them. It is the sole responsibility of the CO/CS to include appropriate clauses/provisions in contracts/solicitations. No one else in the acquisition process will do this for you... not your customer, not your contractor, not a peer reviewer, not a legal reviewer, and certainly not a computer program.

Do it the hard way... you'll be glad you did.

-

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Guest carl r culham

Interesting thread as it is hard to interpret Vern's response.

The answer is most, if not all, agencies currently use acquisition software systems that can do exactly as duke38 asks about. There are many, they are used and go by many names such as PD2, IAS, etc.

There is value in creating a solicitation/contract the old fashion way to understand application of provisions and clauses and gain knowledge of the FAR but there is also value in using a acquisition software system to its fullest.

Back to Vern's comment it could be in fact an expression of concern that an intern in an office that has a acquisition software system does not know that it exists which would then speak volumes about the quality of the knowledge and skill development being provided by managers and supervisors in such an office. I am sure Vern will let me (us) know his intention.

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I used PD2 when I worked for DoD, and it's clause chooser STUNK!! I ended up having to delete everything it put in and do it the old fashioned way, and now I'm glad that I did... It helped me to learn about the different provisions/clauses and their applicability. The matrix in 52.3 is a decent starting point. However, nothing replacing the research that is necessary for each Part and their provisions/clauses.

It is a shame, that as an Intern, you haven't been introduced enough to the FAR to know how to determine which clauses are required. That is not a remark about you, but about the sad shape of our intern programs. I would recommend taking the initiative and bug your trainer/coach to provide you with some instruction.

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As others say, one needs a solid understanding of what the clauses/provisions say and mean to accurately and completely prepare a solicitation. Once you have that and understand the nuances of the specific software, contract writing systems can be very beneficial.

By way of background, PD2 started out extremely well but DoD screwed it up. Originally they selected AMS's Procurement Desktop (PD) as the core of the system. However instead of using the Federal version of PD, they used the commercial version. This was supposed to provide greater flexibility in meeting the widespread needs of DoD. Once it was time to work out the details and implement, things feel apart. It was a perfect example of design by committee. Everyone involved felt they didn't want to give up any feature they present system had - another example of paving over the cow path. What a mess it turned out.

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By way of background, PD2 started out extremely well but DoD screwed it up. Originally they selected AMS's Procurement Desktop (PD) as the core of the system. However instead of using the Federal version of PD, they used the commercial version. This was supposed to provide greater flexibility in meeting the widespread needs of DoD. Once it was time to work out the details and implement, things feel apart. It was a perfect example of design by committee. Everyone involved felt they didn't want to give up any feature they present system had - another example of paving over the cow path. What a mess it turned out.

One would never know that "This was supposed to provide greater flexibility in meeting the widespread needs of DoD" by the present system. This is a perfect example of the "tail wagging the dog". The present system seems to be controlled by persons who appear to think that every peg will fit in a round hole and that all contract types are the same.

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At least once a year (and sometimes more often) I pick a contract, start at 52.202-1, and go through each clause and prescription. I?ve been in contracting for less than 4 years and this has taught me way more than any DAU or Management Concepts class (with the exception of Don Mansfield?s CON 120).

I recommend using the online version of the FAR and just toggling between windows.

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I recommend using the online version of the FAR and just toggling between windows.

To make that easier, I recommend getting a second monitor so you don't have to toggle; you can keep both windows open. Works great for many applications. Everyone should have 2 monitors if you ever have to review anything and comment at the same time. They only cost around $100 these days. The productivity gains make it pay for itself.

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This is too funny. Just the other day our SAP Team Lead was pulling her hair out because our interns and new Contingency Contracting Officer were looking for that magic button. Actually, the Hill Air Force Base FAR site has a Clause Logic function, but my understanding is that it pulls in stuff you don't need, and misses stuff you do. The only way one can learn what needs to go in is by reviewing the FAR Matrix and the prescriptions for the clauses. As training coordinator, I am looking at doing a series of Brown Bag Lunch Clause Logic classes and go systematically through each section of the FAR as it applies to SAP and commercial requirements. We are so concerned that the new crop of 1102s coming in are becoming clerks; we have stop and give them the proper foundation.

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This is too funny. Just the other day our SAP Team Lead was pulling her hair out because our interns and new Contingency Contracting Officer were looking for that magic button. Actually, the Hill Air Force Base FAR site has a Clause Logic function, but my understanding is that it pulls in stuff you don't need, and misses stuff you do. The only way one can learn what needs to go in is by reviewing the FAR Matrix and the prescriptions for the clauses. As training coordinator, I am looking at doing a series of Brown Bag Lunch Clause Logic classes and go systematically through each section of the FAR as it applies to SAP and commercial requirements. We are so concerned that the new crop of 1102s coming in are becoming clerks; we have stop and give them the proper foundation.

When discussing simplified acquisitions, its important to note that according to the current FAR Matrix:

- There are 6 FAR provisions and clauses that are required in all Simplified Acquisitions

- There are 308 FAR provisions and clauses that are required when applicable in Simplified Acquisitions

- There are 78 FAR provisions and clauses that are optional in Simplified Acquisitions

- Your agency FAR supplement will have provisions and clauses that are required, required when applicable, and optional in Simplified Acquisitions as well

These figures are pulled only from the "SAP" column of the FAR Matrix however, depending on your specific acquisition, the inclusion of other provisions and clauses may be necessary. Some may argue that no provisions or clauses should be included if not indicated in the "SAP" column of the FAR Matrix, but depending on the circumstances and the prescription, you may need such a provision or clause. For example, if you may require optional quantities you may include 52.217-7 Option for Increased Quantity - Separately Priced Line Item. This clause is not noted in the "SAP" column of the FAR Matrix.

Also, the figures above do not apply to commercial item simplified acquisitions which have their own provisions and clauses, the prescriptions for which can be found in FAR 12.3. However, even with commercial item acquisitions, be sure to note FAR 12.301(e) which states that a CO may include other FAR provisions and clauses when their use is consistent with customary commercial practice, and be sure to note FAR 12.301(f) which states that agency supplements may require the use of additional provisions and clauses in commercial item acquisitions.

Again, this is for SIMPLIFIED acquisitions.

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We are so concerned that the new crop of 1102s coming in are becoming clerks; we have stop and give them the proper foundation.

Many of them are learning from people who were LITERALLY Government clerks before being repurposed into the 1102 series. Clerk-typists technically...

I pity the "new crop" only inasmuch as they are forced to learn from the "old guard." Many of the new series entrants think they are learning something from these "old hands" when really their heads are being filled with half-truths, bad terms and outdated crud by overpaid pre-DAWIA high school graduates whose on-ramp to the 1102 series was being able to hit the semicolon key consistently with their right pinky finger at one point in the distant past.

You want some advice, duke38? I bet you're a smart person. Grab that FAR and read it nonstop. Read it at stoplights. Read it all the time. If, after 2 or 3 years, you don't think this course of action is interesting, do something else with your life that will excite your interest and heighten your will to work and be the best.

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Guest Vern Edwards

I have one caution about telling trainees to read the FAR. Reading the FAR is not like reading other nonfiction material. It is a very dense text and very difficult to understand outside of a specific context. Very often the reader must search the FAR for applicable definitions, which takes some getting used to. Some sentences go on for many lines and must be broken down into dependent and independent clauses in order to understand what they mean. Some passages in the FAR seem clear and straightforward, but cannot be properly understood without considerable familiarity with case law.

A good supervisor will give a trainee a number of scenarios and problems and instruct her to research the FAR, find the applicable rule or set of rules, and then answer specific questions or sets of questions. The goal is to teach the trainee how to come to grips with the FAR--how to read and interpret it. This takes patience and commitment, but a good supervisor will do it.

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Many of them are learning from people who were LITERALLY Government clerks before being repurposed into the 1102 series. Clerk-typists technically...

I pity the "new crop" only inasmuch as they are forced to learn from the "old guard." Many of the new series entrants think they are learning something from these "old hands" when really their heads are being filled with half-truths, bad terms and outdated crud by overpaid pre-DAWIA high school graduates whose on-ramp to the 1102 series was being able to hit the semicolon key consistently with their right pinky finger at one point in the distant past.

The "old guard" I learned from a previous generation wasn't much better. There wasn't as much job mobility, sharing best practices and lessons learned, and just general communications between people in our field. Case law updates were provided by a Procurement Analyst who read through a stack of GAO decisions that came in the mail. The Analyst often missed key decisions and communicated incorrectly other issues. The "old guard" taught newbie?s like me how to do things but they often were wrong and nobody knew. Training was generally geared towards new people in the field - basic contracting, cost and price analysis/negotiation techniques, and contract administration. These all were in the first couple years. After that, courses were few and far between.

But I will say the average contract specialist then was more capable than the average 1102 now. That?s beacuse one was required to demonstrate competence and expertise prior to being considered for a promotion.

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