O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Federal Acquisition

Book Description

Take the First Step Toward Building a Strong Foundation in Federal Acquisition!
Federal Acquisition: Key Issues and Guidance is an essential guide to understanding and working within the complex world of federal government contracting. It offers brief but comprehensive explanations of the major phases and essential tasks in the contracting process. Written in a clear and easy-to-understand style, this resource provides the perfect foundation for building a thorough understanding of federal contracting.
Author Paula Compton focuses on the most problematic areas of federal contracting, highlighting the deficiencies cited most often by the Government Accountability Office and Inspector General audits and reports, such as:
• Not performing market research
• Inadequate independent government cost estimates
• Violation of the bona fide needs rule
• Insufficient statements of work
• Inadequate price or cost analysis
Anyone new to government acquisition will find that reading this book is the ideal first step on the path to understanding the federal acquisition process. Seasoned contract professionals will find it an excellent quick review.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. About the Author
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Introduction
  9. Part I - The Acquisition Planning Phase
    1. Chapter 1 - Funding: The Availability of Appropriations and the Bona Fide Needs Rule
      1. The Availability of Appropriations
      2. Limitations on Appropriated Funds
        1. The Purpose Limitation
        2. The Time Limitation
        3. The Amount Limitation
      3. The Bona Fide Needs Rule
        1. The Applicability of the Bona Fide Needs Rule to Annual Appropriations
        2. The Applicability of the Bona Fide Needs Rule to Multiyear Appropriations
        3. Continuing Needs under Multiyear Appropriations
        4. The Applicability of the Bona Fide Needs Rule to No-Year Appropriations
        5. The Applicability of the Bona Fide Needs Rule to Supply Contracts
        6. The Applicability of the Bona Fide Needs Rule to Service Contracts
        7. Severable Service Contracts
        8. Nonseverable Service Contracts
    2. Chapter 2 - Independent Government Cost Estimates
      1. Cost Estimates for Contracts
        1. Estimates for Contracts and Option Periods
        2. Estimates for Commercial Items
        3. The Party Responsible for Estimates
        4. Estimate Confidentiality
      2. Types of Cost Estimates
        1. Lump Sum Estimates
        2. Detailed Estimates
    3. Chapter 3 - Justifying Contract Awards without Full and Open Competition
      1. Exemption from Full and Open Competition
      2. Written Justification for Using Noncompetitive Procedures
      3. Exceptions for Using Noncompetitive Procedures
        1. Publicizing the Intent to Award to One Source
        2. Requesting Offers from All Potential Vendors
      4. Bid Protest Forums and the Use of Noncompetitive Procedures
      5. A Bid Protest Case and the Court of Federal Claims Decision
    4. Chapter 4 - Market Research
      1. The Requirement to Perform Market Research
      2. The Party Responsible for Market Research
      3. Types of Market Research
      4. Requests for Information for Planning Purposes
    5. Chapter 5 - The Statement of Work
      1. The Purpose of a Statement of Work
      2. The Preparation and Content of the Statement of Work
        1. The Party Responsible for the SOW
        2. Specifications for Solicitations
        3. The Format of an SOW and Common Elements
        4. SOWs for Federal Supply Schedules
      3. When Is a Statement of Work Required?
      4. Types of Statements of Work
        1. The Functional-Based SOW
        2. The Performance-Based SOW
        3. The Design-Based SOW
    6. Chapter 6 - Acquisition Methods and Selecting the Appropriate Type of Contract
      1. Two Basic Acquisition Methods
        1. Sealed Bidding
        2. Contracting by Negotiation
      2. The Proposal Evaluation Process
      3. Types of Contracts
        1. Fixed-Price Contracts
        2. Cost-Reimbursement Contracts
        3. Indefinite-Delivery Contracts
        4. Other Types of Contracts
      4. The Prohibition of Cost-Plus-a-Percentage-of-Cost Contracts
    7. Chapter 7 - Performance-Based Acquisition for Services
      1. Performance-Based Acquisition: Background
        1. The Definition of Performance-Based Acquisition
        2. The Order of Precedence for Performance-Based Acquisition
      2. The Performance Work Statement
        1. Performance Requirements
        2. Performance Standards
        3. The Development and Content of a Quality Assurance Plan
      3. The Statement of Objectives
        1. The Format and Content of an SOO
        2. The Quality Assurance Plan When Using an SOO
    8. Chapter 8 - The Federal Small Business Program
      1. The Purpose of the Small Business Program
      2. Small Business Concerns and Federal Acquisitions
        1. Small Business Size Standards
        2. The Certificate of Competency and Responsibility Requirements
      3. The Small Business Set-Aside Program
        1. Total and Partial Set-Asides for Small Businesses
        2. Acquisitions Exempt from Set-Asides for Small Businesses
        3. Small Businesses Eligible to Participate in Set-Asides
      4. Dollar Thresholds Reserved for Small Business Concerns
        1. Micropurchases from Commercial Businesses
        2. Small Business Set-Asides Using Simplified Acquisition Procedures
        3. Subcontracting Plan Requirements
      5. Responsibilities of an Agency Small Business Office
        1. Establishing the Small Business Office
        2. The Government’s Goals for Awarding Contracts to Small Businesses
        3. The Responsibilities of Small Business Specialists
  10. Part II - The Solicitation Phase
    1. Chapter 9 - Solicitation and Contract Formats, Provisions, and Clauses
      1. Solicitation Formats
        1. The Uniform Contract Format
        2. Format for Commercial Items
      2. Where to Find Provisions and Clauses
    2. Chapter 10 - Source Selection and Technical Evaluation Plans
      1. The Purpose of the Evaluation Plan
      2. Preparing the Source Selection and Technical Evaluation Plans
        1. Evaluation Criteria in the Solicitation
        2. The Party Responsible for the Evaluation Plan
        3. Developing Evaluation Criteria and Using the SOW
        4. Broad Discretion in the Selection of Evaluation Criteria
        5. Cost or Price and Non-Cost Factors
      3. Ranking of Criteria
        1. Proposal Rating Methods
        2. Technical Evaluation
        3. Cost/Price Evaluation
    3. Chapter 11 - Legal Review during the Solicitation Phase
      1. Legal Offices and Reviews
        1. Legal Counsel or Team
        2. Legal Sufficiency Review Requests
        3. Dollar Threshold for Legal Review
      2. Where to Find Instructions on Legal Review
        1. Executive Departments’ Acquisition Regulations
        2. Agency Policies
        3. Office of the Procurement Executive
  11. Part III - The Evaluation, Negotiation, and Award Phase
    1. Chapter 12 - Technical and Cost or Price Evaluations
      1. The Purpose of Evaluations
      2. The Importance of Integrity and Fairness
      3. The Technical Evaluation Process
        1. Briefing the Evaluation Team
        2. Quick Review of Initial Proposals
        3. Evaluating Proposals Based on the Evaluation Plan and Criteria
        4. The Competitive Range
        5. Discussion of Deficiencies and Weaknesses
        6. Submission and Evaluation of Final Proposals
        7. Protest: The Evaluation Plan Was Not Followed
        8. Protest: Cost/Price Was Not Considered
        9. The Evaluation Report
        10. The Summary Report
        11. Selecting the Source
    2. Chapter 13 - Determining Price Reasonableness
      1. The Purpose of Determining Price Reasonableness
      2. Obtaining Cost or Pricing Data
        1. Solicitation Provision for Cost or Pricing Data
        2. Requesting Cost or Pricing Data
        3. Formats for Submitting Cost and Pricing Data
        4. Requesting Other Data
      3. Cost Analysis
        1. Acquisitions over the Simplified Acquisition Threshold
        2. Reviewing Separate Cost Elements
        3. Cost Realism Analysis
        4. The Cost Analysis Process
        5. Cost Elements Used to Establish Prenegotiation Objectives
        6. Documenting the Cost Analysis
      4. Price Analysis
        1. Methods of Price Analysis
        2. Documenting the Price Analysis
      5. Prenegotiation Objectives
      6. The Price Negotiation Memorandum
    3. Chapter 14 - Determining Responsibility
      1. Determining Prospective Contractors’ Responsibility
      2. Standards for Prospective Contractors
        1. General Standards
        2. Definitive Responsibility Standards
    4. Chapter 15 - Reviewing the Award Document
      1. Review by the Acquisition Team
      2. Review by the Legal Office
      3. Availability and Sufficiency of Contract Funding
      4. Fiscal Appropriations and the Antideficiency Act
      5. Compliance with the Essential Elements of a Contract
      6. FAR Guidance on Legal Review
      7. Documents Submitted for Legal Review
    5. Chapter 16 - Announcing Contract Awards
      1. Notification Thresholds for Contract Awards
        1. Threshold for Public Announcement
        2. Threshold for Notifying Members of Congress
      2. Public Announcement of Contract Awards
      3. Notifying Members of Congress of Contract Awards
    6. Chapter 17 - Notifying and Debriefing Unsuccessful Vendors
      1. When Notification and Debriefing Are Not Required
      2. Notifying Vendors under the Negotiated Method
        1. Preaward Notices
        2. Postaward Notices
      3. Debriefing Vendors under the Negotiated Method
        1. Preaward Debriefings
        2. Postaward Debriefings
        3. Protests Filed after a Debriefing
        4. Protests Filed after an Award
    7. Chapter 18 - The Federal Supply Schedule Program and Price Reductions
      1. Federal Supply Schedule Contracts
        1. Use of Schedule Contracts by Local and State Governments
        2. Schedule Prices Are Fair and Reasonable
        3. New Protest Requirement for Schedule Contracts
        4. Ordering Procedures for Schedule Contracts
      2. Blanket Purchase Agreements
      3. Price Discounts and Reductions
        1. One-Time Discounts
        2. Reductions from Discounted Prices
        3. Reductions below the Maximum Threshold
  12. Part IV - The Postaward Phase
    1. Chapter 19 - Nomination, Training, Certification, and Responsibilities of the Contracting Officer’s Representative
      1. Nomination and Training of the COTR
        1. COTR Training Courses
        2. Continuous Learning Points
        3. COTR Training Institutions
        4. The COTR Nomination and Delegation Memoranda
      2. The COTR’s Duties and Responsibilities
        1. Understanding Contract Terms and Conditions
        2. Proprietary Information
        3. Monitoring Performance and Handling Problems
        4. Tasks Performed by the COTR
        5. Recommending Changes
        6. Unnecessary Interference with Contractor Work
        7. Progress Reports
    2. Chapter 20 - Contract Surveillance
      1. Surveillance Is a Function of Contract Administration
      2. Required Inspection Clauses and Quality Requirements
      3. The COTR’s Role in Contract Surveillance
      4. Inspection and Testing
        1. The Contractor’s Quality Control Measures
        2. Inspection and Receiving Reports
        3. Certificates of Conformance
      5. The Contractor’s Production Progress Report
    3. Chapter 21 - Exercising Contract Option Periods
      1. Benefits and Limitations of Option Periods
        1. Benefits of Contract Options
        2. Limitations on the Use of Contract Options
      2. Solicitation Provisions and Contract Clauses
        1. Option Provisions for Solicitations
        2. Option Clauses for Contracts
        3. Sample Option Provisions and Clauses
      3. Determining Whether to Exercise an Option Period
        1. Factors to Consider
        2. Reviewing the Contractor’s Past Performance
      4. Documenting the Determination
        1. Preparing the Determination and Findings
        2. Notifying the Contractor of the Intent to Exercise an Option Period
      5. Restrictions on Exercising Option Periods
  13. Glossary
  14. Index