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  1. 1) Assume that FAR 52.244-5, Competition in Subcontracting, is (will be) included in an upcoming GSA IDIQ Phase III SBIR contract, awarded to our small business, against which multiple Task Orders will be awarded. The Phase III SBIR itself is not competed; the “competition” is considered to have occurred in Phases I and II. Similarly, TOs awarded under the Ph III SBIR IDIQ are not competed; as they are customer – not SBIR – funded. TO awards are made subject to Alpha Contracting rules, which allows for detailed negotiations with the end customer and GSA on scope, price, and technical approach prior to award. (The use of Alpha contracting may or may not matter to the questions below.) 2) Assume further that our company’s intent is to establish a Contractor Purchasing System that would fulfill the requirements of DFARS 252.244-7000 et seq., and that this clause will be included either at the IDIQ level or for each TO. We have neither an objection nor an impediment to implementing a purchasing system that would be compliant and pass a review, but we’re only now growing to the point where we need one. And so we now have to understand the work required. 3) In the WIFCON post Teaming Agreements and the FAR (https://www.wifcon.com/discussion/index.php?/topic/682-teaming-agreements-and-the-far) Vern Edwards makes a point about the difference between “practical” and “practicable,” with respect to competing sub-contracts. (a) It’s hard to discern a meaningful difference in definitions from Merriam-Webster.com. Some drill-downs into the difference are made at: (i) Gramarist: “Think of practical as a synonym of useful, and practicable as a synonym of doable and feasible," and (ii) Vocabulary.com: “Do you mean to say that a thing is sensible? Choose practical. Do you want to say it is possible? Choose practicable.” However: (b) DFARS 244.305-71, Contract clause, indicates that both DFARS 252.244-7001, Contractor Purchasing System Administration, and FAR 52.244-5, Competition in Subcontracting, should be used in tandem (“Use the Contractor Purchasing System Administration basic clause … (a) … 252.244-7001 , Contractor Purchasing System Administration—Basic, in solicitations and contracts containing the clause at FAR 52.244-2, Subcontracts”). And each uses a different word: (i) DFARS 252.244-7001 (c) (7) indicates that a Contractor’s Purchasing System “Use competitive sourcing to the maximum extent practicable…” [“doable” or “possible,” according to the distinctions above] (ii) while FAR 52.244-5, Competition in Subcontracting, requires subcontractors (and suppliers) to be selected “on a competitive basis to the maximum practical extent.” [“useful” or “sensible,” again according to the distinctions above]. 4) So here’s my first set of questions: Though there might be a difference in meaning, is there really a difference in intent? Especially when these clauses are to be used in tandem? If so, what would that difference be? And most importantly, can anyone discern what the intent of the paired clauses would be? (Possible? Or sensible?) 5) And then the second set: Does (could) the Alpha contracting process play a role in fulfilling either the practical or practicable competitive sourcing / competitive basis requirement(s)? If we identify subcontractors and suppliers in our pre-award discussions, and then include those in our technical and/or price proposals, and those proposals are incorporated into the subsequent Task Orders, does that not fulfill the intent of either or both DFARS 252.244-7001 or FAR 52.244-5? (Not very SBIR-like, but if we propose to paint your hallways using Sherwin-Williams paint, do we have to still go out and get quotes from Benjamin Moore, Behr, and Valspar? If we propose to set up your cloud using Amazon Web Services, then after award do we also have to get a quote for Microsoft Azure? If Dell is my teaming partner – not via a CTA, but having set up a Teaming Agreement with them to target an opportunity with a prospective client who would fund a TO award – then do I need to get quotes for IBM and HP hardware?) Thanks in advance for any help. I have to admit to being a lurker on this forum for years, and those of you who've sustained these discussions and provided your insights and guidance have been wonderful mentors and teachers - thanks!!
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