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Drafting and Reviewing Acquisition Plans

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Hello, I am a newly minted 1102. I have been tasked with reviewing and contributing to an acquisition plan for a new requirement. Now I know that I do not know some of the technical aspects of the requirement and the program office would have more input when it comes to the technical areas. That being said what are some tips and guidance that some of you more seasoned 1102 could provide when it comes to drafting and reviewing acquisition plans?

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I think you should try to understand everything in the plan, even the technical stuff. Understand to the point that you could write it yourself. Then ask if you can write one. Then get really good at writing them. Then teach other 1102s how to write them. Or develop a robot that writes acquisition plans using artificial intelligence with minimal or no human input. Name your robot 11-02. Then patent your invention. Then use your robot to sell acquisition plans as-a-service to the Government. If you don't do it somebody else will. Then there would no longer be a need for you to draft or review acquisition plans. 

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On ‎1‎/‎30‎/‎2020 at 12:52 PM, Don Mansfield said:

I think you should try to understand everything in the plan, even the technical stuff. Understand to the point that you could write it yourself. Then ask if you can write one. Then get really good at writing them. Then teach other 1102s how to write them. Or develop a robot that writes acquisition plans using artificial intelligence with minimal or no human input. Name your robot 11-02. Then patent your invention. Then use your robot to sell acquisition plans as-a-service to the Government. If you don't do it somebody else will. Then there would no longer be a need for you to draft or review acquisition plans. 

Thanks for responding Don. Thankfully, they need me to do more than review acq plans. I also don't want to render all of us 1102s to be obsolete anytime soon.

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On ‎2‎/‎1‎/‎2020 at 8:13 PM, Ibn Battuta said:
  1. After you read the FAR coverage in 7.105 and in your agency FAR supplement, and any other published agency guidance on acquisition planning, check with your colleagues and legal office to see if anyone has a copy of Formation of Government Contracts, 4th ed., by Cibinic, Nash, and Yukins. If you can find a copy, read Chapter 3, "Acquisition Planning." It is the most comprehensive single overview of the topic that I know about, and it is keyed to FAR 7.105. (If you worked for me I'd give you a copy, but you don't work for me. Maybe if you ask your boss she'll get one for you.)
  2. If you tell us what agency you work for and what your agency is planning to acquire, I might be able to refer you to more specific materials. Do you have access to JSTOR through your public library or other source?
  3. Buy or otherwise try to find a copy of The Government Contracts Reference Book, 4th ed., which is a guide to acquisition words and terms. 
  4. Read everything you can get your hands on that has been written about the supplies or services your agency is planning to buy, the industries that produce them, and the markets in which they are sold.
  5. You may be provided with samples of old acquisition plans. Go ahead and look at them, but don't let yourself become a cutter-and-paster instead of a thinker.
  6. Keep in mind that acquisition planning is both a business and a political process within agencies. Keep your eyes and ears open and see if you can determine what the issues are for each of the various organizational components involved in the acquisition---e.g., program (technical), contracting, finance, legal, logistics, etc. Observe the participants and see if you can determine their respective stances on each of the key issues. Keep a notebook and write down your observations. It will come in handy.

You've been handed a great opportunity. I hope you're ready to work hard and read a lot.

Thank You, very much Ibn Battuta. This some very good advice that you have provided. I specifically work for the Navy and based on the advice you provide I think I need to dig into NMCARS specifically. I didn't know that THE Ibn Battuta the medieval Moroccan explorer was also an acquisition professional. Thanks Again. I am ready to work hard and read a lot.

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Prosperity:

Ibn forgot to tell you to send your address to me by PM or my wifcon e-mail.  Never send your home or work address or your e-mail here. 

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Since the NMCARS has acquisition strategy/plan templates with specific questions for each paragraph, I think an often-overlooked key point is to answer the specific questions they ask in each paragraph. Surprisingly often we'll overlook something they explicitly ask for, like an explanation of the PSC in paragraph 1.1.

Another recommendation: Don't necessarily default to Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) writing in an acquisition plan. Sometimes you need to apply persuasive writing techniques to lead the reader/approver along the path that leads to a decision. If you start with a BLUF that the reviewer wasn't expecting, or is non-preferred (e.g. the contract will be T&M), then the reviewer may immediately start forming roadblocks in their mind before you even begin to justify the decision. On the other hand if you start together with the reviewer on a statement that you both agree on either because it is a fact (e.g. "FAR 16.601(c) states that […]") or because it is a supported conclusion from a previous paragraph (e.g. "as market research, described in paragraph 1.3, demonstrated […]") then take the reader one step at a time through the logical steps that lead to your conclusion (e.g. "therefore T&M is the appropriate contract type") they will either have to agree with you (and approve your document) or at least they will have to point out the specific step in your logic chain that they don't agree with, which will make it easier for you to revise your document (or your conclusion) to come to an agreement.

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