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  1. I don't necessarily think of additional questions as pointless. Not everyone reading this forum has all of the answers. One of WIFCON's greatest uses is for posterity. Not even for necessarily the right/wrong answer, but arguments made for or against a way forward that might become relevant to someone else in a different application entirely. Whether you personally value the added information/detail on questions asked is certainly important to you, but not everyone who visits this website publishes articles on federal acquisition and may very well encounter something similar in their future experience(s) in a niche acquisition field. The questions surrounding the type of funding and the different way(s) offices conduct proposal prep are certainly valid directly related and tangential topics respectively.
  2. FMS country. 11X8242 funds, FMS trust fund. Office of the President. Technically the account is subject to apportionment, but my understanding is that when funds are implemented from the Letter of Offer and Acceptance the FMR considers it a disbursement. Thanks Joel -- Similar thoughts. I regret to inform you that those terms (business and contract clearance,) have been codified in the AF supplement, and even worse -- additional requirements codified by PEO and therein each individual division. No process before the process. That said, provisions you have mentioned do not apply here. I probably touch a dozen different cases. I am technically completely funded by one case. When there are personnel who are not assigned a MPCN they are admin-funded. Typically an office carries a certain amount of admin funded positions, which if goes on frequent enough requires them to be moved to an office with a slot to assign them to. As you can imagine, America's recent arms dealing demonstration in Ukraine is accelerating international demand for materiel. In an FMS office that pre-work is the cost of doing business. On each case USG takes a %/cut for Manpower/Admin of the case. DCMA/DCAA also take their own cut. Pre-Letter of Request work often includes requests for a rough order of magnitude, and 3-4 meetings with the KTR for our program managers to actually understand their requirement. Estimate is blessed by blessing division, and then sent to country for signature for an official Letter of Request. This codifies what the country is actually looking for. Usually they're looking at not just the U.S. but many other sources to fulfill their needs. We might get this far with a country who wants to do business. Until this goes out and then a Letter of Offer and Acceptance is signed, there is no agreement between USG/Country. Even when the LOA is signed, until they send the check in the mail (designated bank,) funds are received and processed via trust fund. As Joel mentioned it's treated as overhead until you get to the phase of a formal proposal, and typically only your large(er) businesses bother with proposal prep costs.
  3. I think you are correct that it's a matter of local policy. There is nothing precluding solicitation before funds are available. Your references refer to what needs to be included if the contract is to be let prior to funds being available, but I know I can't let the contract. My question is to how far I can go after receipt of solicitation up to contract award, which contains multiple phases. I have stated I believe the stop sign will either be at business or contract clearance, which is specific to my agency, USAF. That is what the OP asks.
  4. Only if you meet the conditions at FAR 32.703-2(a)/(b), which has been previously stated before this bold and italicized post that the acq does not. Thus, it is only included/referenced in the solicitation. Which is why I'm asking for thoughts/experience(s). Thanks for your contribution(s).
  5. Thanks for the citations - however, that does not answer my question of whether I will be authorized via business clearance to enter negotiations with the contractor without funds. Don't necessarily see why not, and believe contract clearance would be the proverbial stop-sign. Acq does not meet requirements at FAR 32.703-2(a)/(b).
  6. Anticipate releasing a solicitation subject to availability of funds. How far along in the process can I get without funds? Can I achieve business clearance (negotiate with contractor with agreement of negotiated amount contingent upon availability of funds?) and assume that Contract Clearance will be where the stop sign is at? (Country X does not have funds avail this year, manpower to be provided this CY to work pre-award, but adtl lines for buy will not be implemented until next CY.)
  7. AI essentially wrote my non-discrete QSI bullets. Minor tailoring to customers/adding dollar figures. Time saver come appraisal time!
  8. Thanks for this. The CRS is particularly helpful in providing supplemental information for the exceptions. One of those topics that within my agency often doesn't apply for certain procurements abroad, but often ingrained into policy/JA's review.
  9. Bingo. Do the best you can within the confines of the system. I look forward to real bullets being written about innovation in our field utilizing and incorporating these emerging technologies.
  10. Funny you should mention that. There are unclass calls for deepfakes created by A.I. that already exist but not for non-commercial purposes, and DoD is interested. ( AI is a critical future technology that is necessary as unmanned platforms become more prevalent. Just as with DARPA, these military applications will trickle down into civil applications, to include augmenting our work capabilities as an 1102. Some will trickle. AI will pressure wash. While it would be nice to be able to "take it slow," the ongoing great power competition unfolding will not wait. AI is a technology that our near peer competitors are in some respects "ahead," of our capabilities. The U.S. controls announced last year have expanded beyond the U.S. alone. The computing power required to sustain AI is playing out in a digital arms race in real time, globally. GAO article Just with other innovative technologies of their time, some might cling to other ways/means -- but those that do will see their capabilities suffer. I don't think it's unreasonable to view AI's implementation as very soon, and likely sudden.
  11. https://thispkdoesnotexist.com/?fbclid=IwAR2NLdeePoSmtQYesutY_R-aJDBWdLmrYkmW4VWvL3poOy1dp3y3_K_KK9c https://www.gotovao.com/Documents/cb970a650c0d4157b7b6bdba4a811be4?src=Email|VAODailyNews:UsingAItoAccelerateContractWriting|02-28-2023|{ADA96C7F-334A-4B14-A9AB-BCA39FD28E2A}&token=cWNAOWhYYDAQjcXmoV5liD8kTXXhBg42l42ak7s4X4EOS2aY7_QOm+cqQTiorgOUE+m8nDedH6KM24Uu+6wKSImgkudm4ISwphYiG572ltdSrId2lXn6rHgmqEeopFA9 Additional primitive AI tools. They are coming.
  12. It is absolutely true. While I am hesitant to agree with Mr. Stack's particular statement in total without understanding his direct qualms (I have seen a fair share of technical evaluations and requirements from engineers,) acquisition processes are nuts. HHQ leadership only sees THEIR processes. They don't see the center level processes. They don't see the PEO processes (I have a policy letter that mandates an ESIS for ALL acquisitions - regardless of dollar value, services or supply (we are mostly supply, with no services greater than $7.5M). I have brought this up to policy representatives who have shrugged. I had to drag my program managers kicking and screaming that not all acquisitions require a written acquisition plan, and therefore do not necessarily require an ASP.) They sure as hell don't see divisional processes (for example, remnants of configuration control boards now being utilized to monitor configuration of commercial aircraft for countries who don't maintain a given configuration anyway,) that are non-value added but "have always been done this way." Let's process another RAD for an AFI exempt requirement. I have caught offices writing a memo about which mod authority to use and spending THOUSANDS of self-inspection hours discussing how best to document the memo when the requirement stemmed from old AFMCFARS language that was moved from AFMCFARS MP to AFMCFARS PGI, to AFFARS PGI -- half a decade after it was moved to PGI -- and eventually to the dustbin of history. STILL BEING WRITTEN. It's INSANE. They wave the flag and say they've innovated by reducing some peer review threshold or another -- but miss the forest of where the time sink occurs. I was more optimistic under previous leadership, but current regime seems to be more recalcitrant. So much about acquisition culture has changed within the past ten years, and I blame a lot of the lag in shift towards streamlining on the rigid, inflexible practices of yore (that those in charge know/thrived in.) So they'll say the processes are being diminished, while indirectly gumming it up in alternative ways or not noticing that the real meat is further down the line. Yay we cut a peer review requirement threshold. Mission accomplished. Never mind the 100+ non-required processes being dutifully performed every day for no reason at all.
  13. Yes. No process before the process. (except this one more process.)
  14. I'm assuming the original solicitation included no mention of on-ramp procedures as well -- which could be/ could have been utilized to alleviate some of the concerns. Ideally these concerns would be handled during the source selection. Probably multiple options. Could even consider going nuclear, amending the solicitation with the intent to award all qualifying offerors / drop eval of cost/price if you want to really wind up your JA depending on your agency and business size, but then you are additional lead time to the TO you're using for the seed/sample. Also doesn't change that you have unsat proposals, so discussions seem the best route. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/07/02/2020-12764/federal-acquisition-regulation-evaluation-factors-for-multiple-award-contracts
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